Latest Kenya election remarks from Amb. Godec emphasize need for change; corruption undermining democracy

imageU.S. Ambassador Godec spoke out strongly on corruption in pre-election remarks to students at Maseno University on Wednesday as reported by CapitalFM: “Vote so as to bring change to Kenya says U.S. envoy.”

While emphasizing he personally and the United States favored no candidate or party among Kenyans’ choices, Godec stated:

Corruption is undermining the future of Kenya.  It is creating huge problems and it is underming democracy., security and having a very bad effect and this needs to change.

We seem to be seeing a policy shift from the U.S.  We were strongly opposed to government corruption off and on under Moi after the Cold War and we were also opposed to corruption in 2005-06 with the Anglo Leasing and other scandals.

After getting burned, perhaps, for changing positions in 2007 to become soft on corruption under Kibaki and looking the other way as he stole re-election, we were back to being “against” to some degree on a “go forward” basis after the formation of the “Government of National Unity” in Kibaki’s second Administration.  We preached “the reform agenda” through passage of the referendum to approve the new constitution in 2010 (noting that one pesky problem:  Daily Nation reports that USAID Inspector General has found that US funding did go specifically to encourage “Yes” vote on referendum.)

After years now of being back on our heels for whatever reason, we have rediscovered the dignity required to speak up and now to take a “small dollar” but conspicuous and significant action in suspending a little over $20M in support for the looted Ministry of Health, and now open acknowledgement of that the magnitude of the problem has reached a point that it is a critical threat.

Godec Confirmation Hearing

The U.S. Senate Foreign Affairs Committee will conduct confirmation hearings on the nomination of Ambassador Robert F. Godec for Ambassador to Kenya on Wednesday, November 28.

Godec has been serving in Nairobi since late summer following the resignation of Ambassador Scott Gration. Gration and his wife are staying in Nairobi.

Friday Uganda Event in Boston; Kenya reading

Friday event in Boston: “Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army: a State Department Perspective” at the BU Center for African Studies, 3pm

Jason Lewis-Berry, the Lead Foreign Affairs Officer in the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations who has also served as Field Representative for Lord’s Resistance Army issues in Central Africa, will deliver this lecture @ BU. A Q&A session will follow.

“Kenya’s New Constitution: Political Musical Chairs and Inertia Taint Implementation” from the Institute for Security Studies:

27 August 2012 marked the second anniversary of the promulgation of Kenya’s new constitution. Hailed by some as one of the most progressive constitutions in Africa because of its comprehensive and liberal bill of rights, the new charter has been facing implementation challenges with suggestions that sections of the legislature and executive are bent on influencing the process for political expedience.  .  .  .

For those preparing for the Kenyan election, I recommend Muthoni Wanyeki’s recent paper “The International Criminal Court cases in Kenya: origin and impact,” also published by the ISS.  Wycliffe Muga’s column in the Star concludes “we are heading for a truly divisive election”.

The U.S. Senate Malaria Working Group, headed by Sen. Chris Coon of Delaware (Senate Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee chairman) and my Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi announced this week expansion into the Senate Caucus on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases.  Hopefully, the Senate will soon be taking up confirmation of the Administration’s nomination of the Chargé d’affaires Robert Godec as the new Ambassador.