American envoy Robert Godec described his five-year stint in Nairobi as “a great privilege of my life” even as his unexpected exit fuels speculation that he could be one of the early victims of a political truce between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Mr Godec said he used his tenure to preside over healthy diplomatic relations that saw progress in health care, education, agriculture, trade, investment, security and governance in Kenya.
“Kenya holds a special place in my heart. I offer a warm ‘Asanteni Sana’ to the Kenyan government, Kenyan people, and my Embassy colleagues for their extraordinary friendship and collaboration over the years.”
However, on social media, there were claims he was fired.
President Donald Trump has nominated Illinois State Senator Kyle McCarter as the next US ambassador to Kenya signalling an end to Mr Godec’s long tenure that began in 2012 under the Obama administration.
His posting began ahead of the March 4, 2013 Kenyan General Election. At the time, the two top candidates — Mr Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto — were fighting crimes against humanity charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
He would quickly join forces with other Western diplomats in what appeared to be a covert campaign against the ICC-indicted candidates.
Shortly after President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto took the reins of power, Mr Godec would lead a diplomatic shift as Western envoys embraced the incoming government, much to the chagrin of the Opposition.
As the country went through last year’s prolonged electioneering — which would eventually re-install President Kenyatta – the opposition, especially National Super Alliance (Nasa), where Mr Odinga is a co-principal, consistently accused him of bias and pushed for his exit.
Early this month when Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga shook hands to end political hostility, many saw the secret hand of the US in the truce.
Mr Odinga would tell supporters that he signed “a rich deal that covered all our demands”.
He only mentioned that Nasa legislators would get their guns and bodyguards back while deported lawyer Miguna Miguna would also return home.
Mr Godec said yesterday: “While the US Senate considers Senator McCarter’s nomination, the US Embassy team and I will continue to advance our shared goals and prepare for a smooth transition.”