United States President Donald Trump has nominated Illinois State Senator Kyle McCarter to replace Robert Godec as US Ambassador to Kenya.
In a statement by the White House, Trump said McCarter had applied for the position in 2017 after working in Kenya as a missionary for more than 30 years.
Trump said the senator had served as a “field auditor, missionary and international director of Each One Feed One International, with an office in Mukothima, (Tharaka Nithi county)”. McCarter welcomed the nomination, terming it an honour to be picked to represent the US in a country he had previously lived in for years.
“I look forward to bringing about a closer relationship that will benefit both our nations,” he said in a statement. The post requires Senate confirmation.
According to US media, McCarter and his wife are conversational in Kiswahili. He has been a State Senator in the Illinois since 2009. Meanwhile, outgoing Ambassador Godec yesterday congratulated McCarter for the nomination. He termed it a privilege to serve as US envoy in Nairobi and expressed his continued support to help deepen the special partnership between the two countries.
“One of the great privileges of my life has been to serve as the US Ambassador to Kenya. While the US Senate considers McCarter’s nomination, I will continue to advance our shared US-Kenyan goals and prepare for a smooth transition,” said Godec in a statement.
He said during his tenure, Kenya made progress in health care, education, agriculture, trade, investment, security and governance, among other areas. The envoy thanked the Kenyan government and Kenyans for their “extraordinary friendship and collaboration over the years.”
Godec has served as envoy in Kenya since September 2012, when he was posted by then US president Barack Obama. It is not clear if the envoy will return to the US or will be redeployed elsewhere.
Godec’s tenure, however, has been shrouded with controversy, especially during last year’s presidential elections when the Opposition politicians told him to keep off Kenyan affairs.