, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 3 – US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec on Thursday sought to dispel fears that the US embassy in Kenya was significantly scaling back its operations in the country due to insecurity.
While admitting that insecurity was indeed a challenge and that some staff had been relocated because of it, he said they represented a small percentage whose mandates did not require them to be compulsorily based in Kenya.
“This mission is the largest in Africa. It’s the 13th largest mission in the world. We manage just in USAID a two billion dollar development assistance portfolio for Kenya alone and all of those programmes will continue,” he assured.
That said however, he was categorical that the problem of insecurity had to be dealt with, but assured Kenyans of the US government’s intelligence, technical and material support in the interest of securing not only its interests in Kenya but acting in the interest of Kenya, “so forget the rumours. Focus on the facts,” he urged.
Echoing British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner, Godec cautioned against taking the US advisories on travel to Kenya out of context asking that they be seen in light of the roles embassies all over the world are required to play.
“Our travel warnings summarise the security situation in Kenya to allow American citizens to take informed decisions about travel. They do not tell Americans to avoid Kenya. Informing citizens and protecting them is the first obligation of all governments,” he said.
Godec also sought to set the record straight regarding the US government’s relations with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government describing them as “excellent.”
“It has never been the policy of the government of the United States to have some sort of essential contact only policy. We entirely accept the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta as President of Kenya. And President Obama has invited President Kenyatta to join him in August at the first US-African Leaders Summit. We do not support any political party or any particular politician in Kenya. Our actions and programmes work to strengthen our relations,” he restated.
Godec made the assurances at the 238th US Independence Day celebrations at the ambassador’s residence attended by politicians from across the political divide as well as business and civic leaders.