President Obama’s nominee Robert Godec was confirmed as US Ambassador to Kenya (in the US Senate) yesterday.

For some of his views on the forthcoming elections, judiciary reforms, IEBC issues, and lack of police reforms, read this brief overview in the DN November 2012 article. I’ll try getting the Ambassador’s comprehensive response to Senate questions last month.

By Job Posted in kenya


  1. looks like he has his work cut out for him, but he does appear to be right on top of it.

    the period leading to march 4 will be interesting


    • Tnk,

      Sure! I particularly liked his responses to questions regarding the March 2013 elections, judicial reforms and police reforms. He had special words for Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and the reforms he has so far initiated. On the police, he alerted the Senate about “significant problems” including poor oversight and serious human rights abuses.

      Coming to the elections, he alluded to U.S. spending already Shs 2.6 billion towards the elections; with the international community so far spending Sh 8.5 billion…thus they have every stake to be interested in seeing a fair and transparent process.

      Amb. Godec outlined a myriad of election observation efforts ranging from (a) local (USAID supported – via civil society, youth groups, and ‘others’) – through which they’ve trained 9,500 short term observers and 450 long term observers…well prepped for a run-off if necessary (b) inter-collaborative Foreign Mission observer efforts – which intend to observe even party (coalition) primaries, actual elections, and the general elections. The US Mission alone will unleash 50 observer teams across the 47 counties (c) a network of international election observers to be based in the field with some from EU, other African countries, and the US (NDI, Carter Center, and others)…etc

      ODM/CORD must be aware they too will be observed for commitment to internal democracy. I get a bit nervous when politicians with obvious stakes like Franklin Bett get entrusted with overseeing internal elections. With public statements from the likes of Jakoyo (re: Oburu and Siaya Gubernatorial race), anyone wonder why ODM scores poorly in party discipline? These are serious issues that must be addressed. Should Bett play shenanigans with certificates (especially touching on the PM’s relatives) then they can as well kiss national leadership goodbye – & bear all consequences! The whole world will be watching how CORD conducts its affairs.

      IEBC must be aware all eyes are on them…


  2. Video:

    Statement of Robert F. Godec

    Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya

    Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

    Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, and Members of the Committee:

    I am honored to appear before you today as President Obama’s
    nominee to be the next U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya. I want
    to thank the President and Secretary Clinton for their confidence in me.
    confirmed, I look forward to working with you and the other Members of
    Congress to advance U.S. interests in Kenya and the East African region.

    Mr. Chairman, I would like to introduce to you my wife, Lori
    Magnusson, who is here with me today. Lori has been a constant source of
    strength, support, and wisdom to me throughout my career. I would also
    like to introduce my mother, Nancy Dietrich, and to express my profound
    thanks to her for all she has done for me over the years.

    Kenya is a strategic partner for the United States. Our two countries
    are linked by history and shared values. Kenya is a positive and
    constructive leader in a region that faces major challenges, including
    conflict, violent extremism, and poverty. For 50 years, as friends, Kenya
    and the United States have stood together to face these challenges.
    Meeting them is in the interest not just of Kenya and its neighbors, but of
    the United States and, indeed, the world.

    As a consequence, our relationship with Kenya is both broad and deep.
    We work together with Kenya to resolve regional conflicts, combat
    terrorism, and provide humanitarian assistance. As a partner, we have a
    commitment to a strong Kenya and are assisting with Kenyan efforts to
    reform their political institutions, accelerate economic growth and
    development, and improve health and education systems. If confirmed, I
    will continue our work on these challenges and will engage with Kenyans
    from across the country to do so.

    A democratic Kenya, which embraces national reconciliation and
    rejects corruption and impunity, is critical for the future of East Africa.

    Since the deadly violence that swept Kenya following the disputed
    December 2007 presidential elections, the United States has focused on
    supporting political and constitutional reform in Kenya.
    Kenya’s new
    constitution, adopted in August 2010, is one of the most progressive in
    and envisions nothing less than the complete overhaul of the
    political system.
    It holds the promise of anchoring Kenya’s democracy
    firmly in the rule of law.
    Despite facing many other challenges, including
    internal political disagreements, drought, and the global economic crisis,
    Kenya has made significant progress passing the legislation necessary to
    implement the constitution. Kenya’s judicial reforms have been a
    particular bright spot.

    The upcoming March 2013 election is the next key moment for Kenya
    in the implementation of its new constitution and in advancing political
    reform. The responsibility for the election rests squarely with the Kenyan
    government and people, and success, frankly, is not assured.
    If I am
    confirmed, one of my top priorities will be to support Kenyan efforts to
    make the election free, fair, and peaceful.
    We have a strong and varied set
    of programs in place to assist institutions charged with carrying out the
    most complex election in Kenya’s history. We are working with
    government, civil society, religious leaders, community leaders, and youth
    across the country to promote peaceful participation in the election. We
    are also coordinating closely with the international community and other
    partners on our election assistance to ensure the wise and effective use of
    taxpayer resources.

    Beyond the election, Kenya faces many other internal challenges,
    including devolving power to new county governments, carrying out land
    reform, improving environmental protection, combating HIV/AIDS, and
    strengthening its institutions.
    Kenya needs to make progress to address
    these challenges and, if confirmed, I will continue our Mission’s work to
    assist the Kenyans to do so. I will also seek to deepen and strengthen our
    economic and commercial ties, including the promotion of U.S. exports
    and protection of U.S. investment.

    Kenya’s security remains a major concern. It is inextricably linked to
    our own, as was clearly illustrated in the 1998 bombing of our Embassy,
    carried out by al Qa’ida, which left 218 people dead and thousands injured.
    Kenya has borne a heavy burden from the insecurity, extremist violence,
    and humanitarian challenges associated with the conflict in Somalia. As a
    troop contributing country to the African Union Mission in Somalia
    (AMISOM), Kenya has helped to establish the security necessary for the
    new government in Mogadishu to begin serving the needs of the Somali
    people. In taking a higher profile in Somalia, however, Kenya
    increasingly has become a victim of violent attacks by terrorists. If
    confirmed, I will continue to support Kenya’s effort to secure its borders
    and to protect its citizens, while working to ensure that Kenya respects
    human rights and international law as it fights terrorism.

    Kenya also hosts more than 600,000 refugees, primarily from Somalia,
    which places a considerable burden on its limited resources. The United
    States will continue to assist Kenya to meet its international obligations
    with respect to refugees.

    Finally, Mr. Chairman, a tangible indicator of Kenya’s importance to
    the United States is the fact that U.S. Mission Nairobi is now our largest in
    The staff at the embassy has recently weathered a period of
    transition and uncertainty. In my brief time as Chargé d’Affaires, I have
    been impressed by the professionalism, dedication, and integrity of the
    Mission staff, both American and Kenyan. Mr. Chairman and Members of
    the Committee, if confirmed, I would be honored to serve as the next U.S.
    Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya and to lead the capable and
    committed public servants at our Mission there.

    I would be pleased to respond to any questions you might have.


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