Godec to lead US delegation to Uhuru inauguration

Diplomacy US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Diplomacy US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Ambassador Robert Godec will lead the US government delegation to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s inauguration ceremony, the State Department said on Saturday.

Other US officials are expected to be present for Tuesday’s ceremony as well, but President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will apparently not be among them.

In a brief email response to a query about the make-up of the US delegation, a State Department official wrote: “Ambassador Godec will be the highest-ranking US government representative at the inauguration, but will not be the only US government representative present.”

The official did not disclose the names or titles of the other US officials.

The absence of senior figures in the Trump administration could be read as a signal of US reluctance to fully endorse the disputed outcomes of the two rounds of presidential voting.

More than 20 heads of state or government have reportedly either confirmed their attendance or have said they are sending a representative to Mr Kenyatta’s swearing-in ceremony for a second term.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir may be among the guests. The Kenya chapter of the International Commission of Jurists has reportedly urged Attorney General Githu Muigai to arrest Mr Bashir if he does arrive in Nairobi.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for Mr Bashir on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity stemming from Sudanese forces’ operations in the country’s Darfur region.

Mr Bashir’s presence would likely serve as a major disincentive for the US and European countries to send top officials to the inauguration.

The US is not a party to the treaty establishing the ICC but during President Obama’s eight years in office, the US did informally cooperate with the criminal court.