By Chris Wamalwa in USA
Speculation is rife both in Kenya and the US as to why the US ambassador to Kenya, Scott Gration, considered one of President Obama’s close confidants resigned in a huff on Friday.
Though nobody at the State Department and the White House is ready to officially acknowledge it, it appears the envoy may in fact, have been forced to resign.
Day-long investigations through interviews with the State Department and White House officials paint a picture of an envoy though highly experienced and close to the President, was completely out of touch with Obama’s administration’s Foreign Relations policy in general and the Horn of Africa political dynamics in particular in a way that rendered him irrelevant.
“Apart from the middle East, the Horn of Africa which includes Eastern Africa is considered by the Obama administration as a ‘Flash-Point’. What that means is that, what happens there raises a very prominent RED Flag and we have to constantly stay engaged. Don’t also forget that Kenya has a special place in president Obama’s heart!” said a source that requested that we don’t use his name in this story.
“Is that why the ambassador resigned? And by the way, did he resign or was he fired?” I asked. “I can’t answer that question. It’s only the Undersecretary for Africa Affairs who can answer that,” he replied.
When US Ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration resigned his position early Friday, he cited the reason in an emailed statement as differences with Washington regarding his leadership style and certain priorities that led him to believe that it was time to leave.
But, it seems, from what we have gathered, that was putting it mildly. Our source, a former State Department official with a long service record in the Africa bureau told the Standard that Gration’s tenure in Kenya was marked by constant friction with his superiors back in DC because he constantly refused to abide by State Department protocol and security measures.
“Because of his long service as diplomat, he may have believed he doesn’t need to answer to anybody and that may have led to the sullied relations with his seniors,” said the Source.
A case in point that is being cited is, in a move that upset officials in the Department of Defense and White House, Gration complicated US diplomacy to Somalia by demanding oversight of the Somalia Embassy’s actions. It is reported that that did not sit well with the powers that be in DC.
Another issue that became a serious borne of contention is the fact that the ambassador had a weird way conducting his diplomacy business. He mistrusted office computers and phone network fearing maybe they are hacked.
“Because Gration insisted on using his personal computer to conduct State Department business, he set up an office in one of the few places in Embassy Nairobi authorized for an unsecured network,” our source said.
Many people interviewed for this story are at a loss as to how; someone who entered the international and national stage as one of the first big foreign policy names to endorse Obama, and later became a close friend and confidant could have ended this way.