Kenya hasn’t had a U.S. Ambassador since Trump appointee Kyle McCarter left at the start of last year. Fellow expats have taken note. One asked did I see this as a problem in the run-up to “fraught” general elections, coming 9 August? Never mind that most Kenyan elections are fraught.
Looking into it, I found that indeed Nairobi’s got no U.S. Ambassador. Eric Kneedler, the current acting ambassador istechnically chargé d’affaires ad interim, until Biden appointee Meg Whitman assumes the post.
The Ivy-League educated former Hewlett-Packard CEO is currently being vetted by the Senate, which process may not be complete before April or even May.
“That is not good given the elections in August,” a former U.S. diplomat to Kenya wrote me in an email. “You should be more than a little nervous about those elections. It’s a zero-sum game between Ruto and Raila with everything hanging in the balance.”
The embassy’s press officer Andrew Veveiros wrote to me saying the senate confirmation process is hard to predict in terms of timing and it is not at all unusual for it to take months. He added that CDA’s (Charge d’Affaires) have the full power of an ambassador.