US ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration has quit diplomatic service in a huff after differing with his masters in Washington.
Gration leaves Kenya after serving barely for one year having taken over from the outspoken Michael Ranneberger in May 2011.
His exit leaves observers wondering as to what kind of differences could have caused his exit from diplomatic service even as a section of leaders immediately welcomed it as good riddance for a diplomat who ‘was slow’ on reforms agenda.
In a statement sent to to the media, Gration said: “Differences with Washington regarding my leadership style and certain priorities lead me to believe that it’s now time to leave. “
“I submitted my notice of resignation last Monday to the Secretary of State and to the President of the United States of America, to be effective as of 28 July 2012,” Gration said.
His exit sends mixed signals because Kenya has a special long relationship with the US and President Barack Obama whose father was a Kenyan, Barrack Hussein Obama, from Alego Siaya County.
Gration leaves the country just a few hours after hosting a gay party at its embassy in Gigiri, a move that silently ruffled several feathers in the religious ranks.
The gay party was held on Tuesday, 26th June an event, believed to be the first of its kind in the country. The event is as part of the Obama administration’s policy to fight prejudice against lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
That Tuesday morning the embassy presented what is thought to be the first LGBT Pride celebration in Kenya, where homosexual acts are punishable by law. Similar events are being held at U.S. embassies around the world. The push to promote global LGBT rights follows several victories for gay rights advocates in the U.S. over the past year.
These include President Barack Obama’s decision to repeal "don’t ask, don’t tell" that kept gays from serving openly in the U.S. military, and his public endorsement of same-sex marriage earlier this month.
Gration’s exit will be watched keenly as will be the US presidential election and Kenya’s forthcoming general election.
Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara said: “the resignation of Ambassador Gration is good news for Kenyan-US relations particularly in terms of the reform agenda. He has been too sympathetic to the lords of impunity.”
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“We blame him for frustrating President Obama’s planned visit to Kenya,” Imanyara said.
Imanyara alleged that Gration placed so much reliance on Kenya’s National Intelligence Service director Major General Michael Gichangi with whom he worked when Kenya purchased the F5 jet fighters decades ago.