Embassy Kenya: Six Years after Robert Godec’s Confirmation Hearing as Ambassador, no word on vote on his nominated successor

Flashback to six years ago, during the “lame duck” Congressional sessions following President Obama’s re-election:

NOMINATIONS OF ROBERT F. GODEC AND DEBORAH ANN McCARTHY WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2012 U.S. SENATE, COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, Washington, DC Hon. Robert F. Godec, of Virginia, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya Deborah Ann McCarthy, of Florida, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Lithuania

The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:25 p.m., in room SD–419, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Christopher A. Coons, presiding. Present: Senators Coons, Lugar, and Isakson.

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. CHRISTOPHER A. COONS, U.S. SENATOR FROM DELAWARE Senator COONS. I call this hearing to order. I am honored to chair this hearing for the ambassadorial nominees to serve this Nation in Kenya and Lithuania, Ambassador Robert Godec and Ms. Deborah Ann McCarthy. Both nominees have impressive and long records of service and accomplishment in the Foreign Service of the United States, and I look forward to hearing about their priorities for advancing U.S. policies and interests in the countries to which they may soon go as our Ambassadors. I am also very pleased to be joined by my good friend and ranking member, Senator Isakson, of Georgia, and particularly honored that Senator Lugar, the ranking member of the full committee, has joined us today; and I understand Senator Durbin, of Illinois, may as well join us shortly. I apologize for the delay in getting started. We had a vote on the floor of the Senate.

As some know, Kenya has particularly important meaning for me. The first time I ever set foot in Africa was as a undergraduate spending a semester at the University of Nairobi, and I later volunteered at an orphanage in Ngong. My experience there was transformative, and changed my perspective on the world, and gave me a new sense of purpose and focus. And I returned to Kenya, for the first time in 25 years, just a few months ago.

In Nairobi, I had the opportunity to speak at the Kenyan National Prayer Breakfast, as Senator Isakson has, as well, this year, with President Kibaki and others, where I affirmed the centrality for the United States of the upcoming elections and our sincere hope that the violence and chaos of the 2007 elections can be averted. The United States, in my view, is, and should be, closely watching the process surrounding this election, and we’ll work closely with Kenyan officials to ensure the elections are peaceful, credible, and transparent. And I emphasized then, as I will again today, that we do not favor any particular outcome or candidate, but, instead, a free and fair process. Kenya has made remarkable progress in recent years in reforming its constitution, building democratic institutions, expanding press freedoms, and improving its economy. I was particularly impressed, during that visit with the younger generation of Kenyans, in the great potential that exists amongst entrepreneurs. There are many other things to be concerned about in the process toward the election, and I look forward to hearing about them in more detail from Ambassador Godec. Several factors may well influence the outcome of the election— ethnic tensions, the balloting registration process, the behavior of the police and security services, messaging of the candidates—all of which I hope we will get into in some more detail.

The other main area of concern for me regarding Kenya is its military involvement in Somalia, the ongoing security challenges, both within and without Kenya and its borders. Kenya is home to the largest diplomatic mission in Africa, from which a host of government agencies oversee bilateral and regional programs, and serves as a base for humanitarian relief, food security, and global health initiatives, and I’m eager to talk about that, as well as the potential for trade and investment in the region.

To serve as our next Ambassador in this critical post, in my view, President Obama has chosen wisely in nominating Ambassador Godec, who has served as Charge´ in Nairobi since August and has been received positively by government, civil society, and NGOs. Having built a strong career as the former Ambassador to Tunisia, he recently served as Principal Deputy Counterterrorism Coordinator in the State Counterterrorism Bureau. Prior to his service in Tunisia, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs. This is Ambassador Godec’s second time in Nairobi, following a posting from 1996 to 1999 as Economic Counselor.

PREPARED STATEMENT OF RICHARD G. LUGAR, U.S. SENATOR FROM INDIANA It is a pleasure to welcome Ambassador Godec once again before the committee, in this case as the President’s nominee to be Ambassador to Kenya. His stewardship as Charge´ over the last several months comes at a very challenging time for our large and important East Africa Embassy. He has brought deft and experienced management to Nairobi and effectively sustained our varied interests and priorities with Kenyans and the Kenyan Government at a critical time. Among the most important interests is United States support for a free and fair electoral process leading up to national elections in 2013, the first since the abhorrent violence that followed the 2007 elections. United States interests extend broadly in East Africa and recognize the commitment Kenya has made in Somalia under the AMISOM umbrella, as well as its long support for regional peace initiatives. Kenya also has been a key counterterrorism partner in a variety of areas that are of mutual concern with broad global potential for impact. These include Kenyan efforts fighting al-Shabab and building its own counterterror capabilities in maritime and border security. Our extensive cooperation extends to providing a regional platform for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the Center for Disease Control in securing biological materials that pose a threat to millions if neglected. I would like to thank Ambassador Godec for his expeditious review of a longstanding request incorporating DTRA into a large Embassy country team.

President Trump nominated Illinois State Senator Kyle McCarter to replace Godec back on March 28, 2018, and a confirmation hearing was finally held on July 31, 2018, but no public word has come about an actual vote by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. McCarter was to make follow-up submissions about controversial tweets to the Senators. In the meantime, McCarter had announced prior to his nomination that he was not running for re-election to the State Senate and a Republican has been elected to succeed him in January. Trump’s Republicans gained three seats overall in the U.S. Senate.

Godec is now the longest serving U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, well exceeding Michael Ranneberger’s essentially double Bush-Obama term (even without including Godec’s six months as Charge d’Affaires).

Stronger together?  Scott Gration, Hillary Clinton and the road ahead

I was reading Ambassador Scott Gration’s autobiography, Flight Path: Son of Africa to Warrior-General, and had his experience in mind in some respects in my last post which went a bit further than I have previously in its breadth of frustration with how American policy gets made from Washington for Kenya.

General Gration’s memoir is worth reading and I’m glad I was able to take time for it while waiting for the election here in the U.S. to be over.

If you have read about Ambassador Gration’s alleged email hygene at the time he was forced aside as U.S. Ambassador to Kenya in the summer of 2012, and have read the news dribbling out over the last 22 months over the Secretary of State’s email hygene and the related practices of her key staff in Washington, it becomes unavoidable to recognize that the purge of the Ambassador didn’t really have to do with the email or personal computer use issue asserted prominently in the publication of the report of Acting Inspector General’s review of the Embassy that was the “public”–meaning talked about anonymously to reporters then released afterwards–reason he was forced out.

It may well be that within the State Department bureacracy that General Gration stepped on toes of people who didn’t even know that the Secretary of State herself was operating from her private family server in Chappaqua, New York instead of the State Department’s U.S. Government system.  

Reading the media from the time, it seems, perhaps, that there was concern that he could be promoted (which could make people who didn’t like his management style unhappy).  Who knows?  And who has time for that sort of office politics speculation?  Regardless, when Secretary Clinton’s Cheryl Mills called Ambassador Gration to tell him it looked like he needed to fall on his sword, she obviously knew all about the private email server–just not that it would end up revealed on the front page of the New York Times two-and-a-half years later.
The bottom line for me is General Gration is an American who had a great career in the military, serving in a number of important foreign affairs related roles, who grew up in Africa, including significant time in Kenya, and is fluent in Swahili and other local languages.  He bonded personally with Senator Obama during their professional interactions, agreed that we needed to do some things differently in our interactions in the world, and did a lot to help President Obama get elected.  As an Obama ex-Republican, and recently retired General,  in a Clinton State Department he may have been a bit of a “fish out of water”, especially in a job that is most frequently a top plum for the career Foreign Service.

Secretary Clinton will be President-elect shortly.  This has been a foregone conclusion for quite a long time as the Republicans essentially defaulted on an election that would have been very winnable by almost any conventionally qualified or even broadly likeable candidate.  Secretary Clinton will come into office facing a range of difficult security and international affairs challenges, but with a lot of accumulated experience.  It seems to me she would be a smart leader not to leave someone like General Gration with a figurative knife sticking out of his back but rather find a way to use his accumulated talents and experience to serve the country.

Reading Graton’s book, I have an appreciation for his perspective, his courage, his work ethic, his faith–even if I have not personally warmed to some of the diplomatic language regarding “partnership” between our government and Kenya’s that he, like other officials, frequently used.  We are at war and have been for a long time, and it is not going as well as we need it to.  We have to find solutions beyond war to bring security for our interests and freedoms for others.  

“Stronger together” is a great slogan against Trump in this campaign, but it also reflects were we need to go as a country after the election to become the kind of global leaders we want to be.  Gration may be the kind of person that could help us avoid mistakes and build relationships (whether he was the best person to run a particular embassy at a particular time).  [I update to correct the Hillary Clinton campaign slogan from “Better Together” to “Stronger Together”]

When Amb. Gration was purged in mid-2012, the Secretary of State had been using her private email system for 3 1/2 years

This was my point from the last post.  I was prompted by the latest news stories in the international press about Secretary Clinton’s emails containing top secret material not being released.

Obviously, in releasing a report from the Acting Inspector General focused on criticizing Ambassador Gration’s email security and public records compliance in mid-2012 coinciding with the Ambassador’s resignation, the State Department was surely “blowing smoke”.  Plenty of people involved in this, aside from the Secretary of State and the President, must have known that the Secretary herself was using an insecure, “off the public record” system for her own official emails.

Did the Acting Inspector General know? If not, shouldn’t someone have told him?

I don’t know Ambassador Gration and was not in Kenya during his tenure and have no opinions or personal knowledge about the backstory (but will note that someone at the State Department bothered to mention a day ahead of time that the OIG’s report was coming out and the Ambassador was leaving).  Likewise, I am uncommitted and unaffiliated regarding the U.S. presidential race.  My interest here is that this is a foreign policy and public records issue regarding Kenya.

See: Hillary Clinton, Scott Gration and “public-private” email at the State Department

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.

“Peacebuilding Update” amid tensions in Kenya

I previously highlighted the work of the Quakers, through the Friends Church Peace Teams, in running a successful grassroots election monitoring effort in Western Kenya during the 2010 constitutional referendum.  Here is the latest information from the U.S. Friends Committee on National Legislation on the ongoing work in Kenya:

The Friends Church Peace Team reported on its continuing work toward a grassroots election monitoring system, which will allow Alternatives to Violence facilitators and others in Kenyan Friends’ peacebuilding networks to send text message updates on any incidences of violence in their communities.

Change Agents for Peace International (CAPI), based in Nairobi, is responding to rising tension between Christians and Muslims in the city’s informal settlements. July’s attacks on churches in a town near Kenya’s border with Somalia have heightened divisions, and CAPI has worked to facilitate interfaith dialogue since.

Updates from Kenya

Last week, at least 48 Kenyans were killed in an attack on Reketa village in Tana River, southeastern Kenya. The violence was part of ethnic clashes between two tribes, and local residents have cited the approaching elections as a source of rising aggression. The deadly conflict underscores the immediate need for community-based violence prevention and peacebuilding, which will only increase as the polls draw nearer.

Unfortunately, Reketa is not the only area experiencing growing tension. Another is Kenya’s coast, where the recent death of a Muslim cleric has led to protests and conflicts with police. Tensions have also risen arounda growing secessionist movement, known as the Mombasa Republican Council, which seeks to address the decades of marginalization and inequity experienced by those living on the coast. The Kenyan government recently decided to lift its ban on the group, and some feel this will allow more space for non-violent paths forward. In the meantime, however, others are increasingly concerned about the impact the divide may have during the next polls.

While in Kenya earlier this month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighted U.S. support for a peaceful, fair election. The visit was an important one, particularly as Kenyan experts have emphasized the need for vocal diplomatic engagement from the international community. The visit was also an important follow-up tothe resignation of U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Gen. Scott Gration, in late June. While the appointment of a new ambassador will likely be slow going, FCNL has joined others in advocating that the position be filled by someone with deep conflict prevention.

 

Having spent my time in Kenya on leave from a job in the U.S. defense industry and having retired from that role to be an independent lawyer only very recently, I have been pleased to get acquainted with the FCNL work and the Quaker perspective in Kenya, having been aware of the Quakers as a significant presence in the towns and villages of Western Province from my work there.

Growing up in the United States during the Cold War and the post-Vietnam period, I think we had a better ability then to express an appreciation for the value of peace as a goal and ideal than we have now after almost eleven years during which we have been continuously at war.  Partly it was the gravity of the nuclear standoff and “mutual assured destruction”; partly the proximity of the draft in a more egalitarian era in which we did not compartmentalize overseas “warfighting” in the way that we do now in this century, and in part just the tremendous cost in lives in Vietnam in recent memory.  I very much believe that the more recent reticence to speak of “peace” has had a lot to do with the success of people who were promoting the Iraq war in domestic American politics to mobilize key Christian spokespeople and constituencies to support, ironically, a war of choice–that was a distorting misadventure and I hope that we can put it behind us now that that war is finally over.

Regardless, we shouldn’t be squeamish about being explicitly for peace even if we don’t know or agree on the details of how to get it or keep it.  I do have to note that even the Romney campaign of late has revived the Ronald Reagan “peace through strength” slogan.  While the jury is probably very much out on how much similarity there is to what that would mean to a Romney Secretary of State or Defense next year versus what it would have meant to George Schultz in 1984, at least the word itself is being dusted off.

“What’s going on in Kenya?”–Updated

Extremely interesting time, “isn’t it”?

Parliament is in an uproar about questions surrounding the deaths of Internal Security Minister Saitoti and Assistant Minister Joshua Ojode in a helicopter crash. Ironically, perhaps, at least one of those MPs raising questions about a drug-running connection has sparred with the U.S. in the recent past over accusations of his own involvement in such activity–but many others are raising questions, too. The ostensible investigation into the crash has obviously lagged in terms of any public information from the government.

From the Standard:

TEN QUESTIONS MPs ARE ASKING
-Why did police fail to secure scene of crash?
– Why was Iteere first at scene but left shortly?
-Why was Saitoti family not briefed on probe team?
– Why did State frustrate South African experts till they left?
– Is there a possible drug-link to chopper crash?
-Is Kimunya’s ministry co-operating in probe?
– Shouldn’t Kimunya let someone else speak on behalf of Government?
-Why is State shifting positions on investigations?
-Why has State left a vacuum for speculation?
-Why should Iteere and Transport PS not step aside?


Lots of “buzz” in Kenya about continuing disclosures about drug-running and the Artur Brothers and such leading up to the 2007 election.

Police reform and land issues were understood by “everyone” to be crucial tasks for the “Government of National Unity” to get Kenya back on track after the failed election of 2007 and the ensuing violence, yet the Saitoti matter and drug controversies show how little has been accomplished or even attempted on the police front. (We have noted previously the fact that the land issues have remained unaddressed and ripe for more conflict.) When the Commissioner of the Police during the election, Ali, was pushed aside into the cushier, quieter role of Postmaster, in response to pressure from the U.S. among others, who replaced him but Iteere, the head during the election and post-election of the Kenyan police’s paramilitary General Services Unit (“GSU”)? In other words, the paramilitary forces in charge of securing Kibaki’s second term by, among other tasks, locking down the KICC for the announcement of the flawed election tally by Electoral Commission Chairman Kivuitu and keeping Uhuru Park in Nairobi free of demonstators while the parts of the Nairobi slums and the Rift Valley burned. How can Kenyans reasonably be expected to trust the police now?

Election campaigns are in full swing with the “2012 election” already pushed to March 2013, with questions about the ability to prepare on the part of the Government and on possible further delays for legal issues. Parliamentarians have openly sought to undermine key political reforms in the new constitution to continue to facilitate “party hopping” among other gambits to preserve themselves.

And now, the U.S. Ambassador has resigned, after an extremely low-key year on the ground. Obviously there is a back story. He was Obama’s personal choice and supposedly the post was held for him to become available after the Sudan referendum where he served as Obama’s envoy. The details may or may not matter, but regardless, it is crucial that the U.S. Administation step up to the plate in getting someone effective confirmed quickly to replace him. Confirmation hearings will be a chance for Congress to focus on Kenya before things get even messier.

For better or worse, Kenya has no greater friend internationally than the United States. It is time for some sense of urgency and focused determination from Washington. Kenya is worth paying attention to now rather than after it becomes the next crisis of the day.

UPDATE: “Why Gration Really Resigned” story from Molly Redden in The New Republic late this morning has unnamed former State Department officials indicating that a scathing report on Gration’s management style at Embassy will be released soon. Given that Africa Bureau management as a whole was heavily criticized in an IG review released shortly after the Obama Administration took office, it is especially surprising to see a new round of controversial management in the largest and most important U.S. Mission in the region.

Gration resigns–to leave Embassy late July

U.S. Ambassador Scott Gration released a statement to the media in Kenya this morning stating that he had resigned, effective late July, citing differences with Washington over “my leadership style and certain other priorities.”

See the Standard here.

Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara said: “the resignation of Ambassador Gration is good news for Kenyan-US relations particularly in terms of the reform agenda. He has been too sympathetic to the lords of impunity.”

Normally quiet American ambassador speaks out to condemn police repression amid rising ethnic/political tensions in Kenya

Having marked a year in the post this week, U.S. Ambassador Scott Gration has generally “kept his powder dry” in terms of availing himself of the Kenyan media to speak out on the Kenyan issues of the day and exhort better behavior from Kenyan politicians and officials.  This is a marked contrast from what we had been used to during the 2008-11 period.

Today, however, is different.  Ambassador Gration is in both the Saturday Nation and The Standard condemning the Kenyan Police for violently blocking a youth-oriented meeting in Limuru called to counter the recent gathering there to revive the old GEMA (Gikuyu, Embu, Meru Association) to foster “Mount Kenya” solidarity against the International Criminal Court on behalf of the suspects, among other apparently divisive purposes.

The U.S. message leads both stories.  From the Nation‘s “US condemns Kenya Police over anti-Gema meeting”:

The United States has condemned the use of force by police to block the Limuru 2B meeting as calls for the resignation of their boss Mathew Iteere over the incident intensified.

US Ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration said the police action undermined the basic democratic tenets in the country.

“It was a grim reminder of Kenya’s past,” said Mr Gration in a statement Saturday.

“Fear tactics and political intimidation should have no place in Kenya under the new Constitution for they can threaten the brighter future we all desire for all Kenyans.”

He said the whole world looked at Kenya with admiration after the passage of the new Constitution two years ago, which enshrined universal rights as freedom of speech and assembly.

This he said, laid the ground for a free and fair election.

While both stories note criticism of the police from figures on “both sides” of the Government of National Unity, the Nation includes a defense from Kenyan Police head Matthew Iteere who alleges that the meeting was being used as a front to organize for the Mungiki sect.  Of course the Mungiki have a role in being a real problem in terms of crime, including ironically the instrumental political violence forming the basis of the ICC charges against Uhuru Kenyatta who the revival of GEMA seeks to protect; they also have served as a “bloody shirt” waived by state security forces including the police to justify extrajudicial killing in recent years.

[Update:  See Muthoni Wanyaki’s “Now we know: Only ethnic mobilization is allowed” in the East African.

Former U.S. Diplomat Calls for Military Action Against Sudan Over Abyei and South Kordofan

The situation in Sudan seems to continue to worsen.  Aside from the tragic consequences in Sudan, another round of war there does not bode well for reform in Kenya and Uganda, especially in regard to the upcoming Kenyan election.

From the Sudan Tribune at allAfrica.com, “Former U.S. Envoy calls for Military Action Against Country”:

A former US envoy to Sudan has called for taking military action against the Khartoum government in order to prevent further escalation of violence in Abyei and South Kordofan regions.

The sense of relief that prevailed after the January referendum on South Sudan independence was conducted smoothly and in a largely peaceful environment has dissipated last month when north Sudan army seized control of the fertile, oil-producing region of Abyei, the ownership of which is also claimed by South Sudan whose vote for independence in the referendum will see it become the world’s newest nation on July 9.

Concurrently, violence erupted in the country’s north-south border state of South Kordofan after the northern army attempted to disarm local fighters aligned with South Sudan. Over 60,000 people have been displaced, according to UN figures, and hundreds have been killed, according to local NGOs as the northern army carried out aerial bombardment and heavy artillery in the area.

Roger Winter, the former U.S special envoy to Sudan, on Wednesday addressed a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights, about the recent upsurge of violence in Abyei and South Kordofan.

Winter called for an immediate military action against Khartoum in order to strengthen South Sudan army and halt attacks on civilians.

“Take a military action against a Khartoum military target now,” Winter said, adding that the goal would be “to strengthen the SPLA in meaningful ways as a deterrent against Khartoum aggression, provocation and attacks against civilians”

Winter blamed the current situation on the approach adopted by the former US special envoy to Sudan Scott Gration, chiding his “seemingly intimate relationship” with the leadership of north Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP).

“Perhaps the eccentricities of General Gration’s approach to being Special Envoy for Sudan are related to the Administration’s commitment to ‘reach out’ to the Arab and Islamic world,” Winter said.

“His seemingly intimate relationship with the NCP leadership led to his many public references to that leadership as ‘my friends’,” he stressed.

Winter said that any commitments made by the Khartoum government are unreliable and that the government’s actions had led to the death of three million people. . . .

The full hearing line up from Thursday afternoon is here.

In “The Man for a New Sudan” in June 2008, the NY Times profiled Winter:

For the past quarter century — as head of a nongovernmental organization called the U.S. Committee for Refugees, as an official at the federal Agency for International Development and, most recently, as a special representative to the State Department for Sudan, a post created for him — Winter has fought in the back rooms of Washington and in the African bush to bring peace to Sudan. It’s not evenhandedness that makes him effective; it’s his total commitment to the people of south Sudan and a conviction, which has only grown with the years, that the government in Khartoum is, in essence, a brutal cabal. After two decades of fighting for their rights at negotiating tables, he has gained the southerners’ complete trust. “He’s simple and clear,” Edward Lino, the southern government’s chairman in Abyei, told me. “He doesn’t mince words. He’s a great man” who also “has great, great push.”

Update–Here is Rebecca Hamilton today in “Trouble in Khartoum” in Foreign Policy:

Northern Sudan will be a different country in geographic, ethnic, religious, political, cultural, and economic terms once the south separates. And the viability of the new northern nation is also in question, as is the survival of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party.

“The NCP are being weakened day by day. They know they don’t have acceptance in the north,” says International Crisis Group analyst Fouad Hikmat.

Northern opposition parties blame NCP policies for the loss of the south, which is where most of Sudan’s oil lies. Moreover, well-connected Sudanese say there is dissatisfaction within the army, in addition to the armed insurgencies and political discontent in peripheral areas across northern Sudan.

Much of the current fighting may be strategic posturing as final deals are being hashed out over the division of wealth and territory between north and south in advance of July 9. But the ominous developments over the past three weeks are perhaps best understood as being driven by the NCP playing to its fiercely nationalistic domestic audience inside northern Sudan. . . .

[Updated April 6 and 16] Senate Hearing this Afternoon on Gration as Ambassador to Kenya

[Update April 16:  The Gration nomination was approved on voice vote by the Committee, vote by full Senate to be scheduled.]

[Update April 6:  The National Journal reported on the hearings which generated relatively little coverage.  The story notes the strong opposition to Gration from Sudan activists but concludes that he is expected to be confirmed, with support from Committee Chairman Kerry (as well as the President) and with no indication of opposition from the Republican side either.  There is probably just too much other news out of Ivory Coast and Libya, along with Sudan itself, for these hearings on the appointments for Kenya and Botswana to get much mainstream media coverage.]

Confirmation hearings for Scott Gration for Ambassador to Kenya and Michelle Gavin (recently Africa director for the National Security Council) for Ambassador to Botswana begin at 2:30pm Washington time.

Here is the link to the video and for subsequent transcript and submissions from the Senate.

See Diplopundit for counter-Gration advocacy from Save Darfur and related Sudan activists who are unhappy enough with Gration as Special Envoy on Sudan to work against his Kenya nomination.  Staying away from domestic politics, and not being a Sudan expert myself, I won’t weigh in other than to say that the Kenya/Somalia job seems much different than the Sudan envoy job.  And to point out that the post in Nairobi has been waiting for him for a long time and that he has loyalty from President Obama as discussed in previous posts.

Previous on Gration:  Discussion about Gration as Ranneberger Replacement Hits the Media and Gration Spoke Out on Obama/Odinga ‘Smears’ in 2008 Campaign and Obama taps Gration.