Why is the U.S. Military Authority Seeking to Expand its Counterterrorism Drone War to Kenya?

Conflict In Context - Field Notes

The New York Times has reported that the U.S. military aims to broaden its counterterrorism drone war in Kenya. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/15/us/politics/shabab-drone-authorities-kenya.html#click=https://t.co/Lam9HALEWU

Why now?
A couple of things come to mind; damage control (publicity) ahead of presidential elections, and competition with China’s expanding military footprint in Africa.
Seems to me that the US conducting drone strikes inside Kenya is alone scandalous politically because it could in effect define a large part of Kenya, a democratic anchor state, as a war zone. Parts of northeast Kenya are already a no-go zone, and will likely provoke al-Shabaab into carrying out more retaliatory attacks thereby destabilising Lamu county’s already fragile tourist industry.
In January Al Shabaab attacked the US military base in Lamu county because it was an easy target — the perimeter of the base was poorly secured (asleep at the wheel, individuals within host nation’s military compromised by militants) — and because US surveillance aircraft are indeed launched from the base to glean intelligence on “suspected terrorists” in Somalia for targeted killings.
U.S. Military Seeks Authority to Expand Counterterrorism Drone War to Kenya