Scott Gration, the embattled U.S. ambassador to Kenya and retired Air Force general, insists he will be vindicated of charges of gross mismanagement and threats to shoot American diplomats who disobey him.
Mr. Gration, who is planning to resign July 28, used an Independence Day speech Wednesday to defend himself against a critical State Department report that is due out soon.
“It became time, and it became clear to me that it was time for me to move on, so I made the decision to move on in a way that respected my reputation and my dignity, and that’s what we’ll do,” he said, according to news reports from Nairobi.
“I’m still the ambassador here until the 28th. I will continue to serve as the ambassador and do my very best to protect Americans, America’s interests, and to promote our values. That’s what President Obama asked me to do, and that’s what I’ll do until my last second here in the country.”
He added that “eventually the truth will come out, and the truth will set me free.”
Capitol FM, a news radio station in Kenya, reported that Mr. Gration “denied allegations that he threatened to shoot” embassy staffers if they refused to follow his orders. The radio station did not quote the ambassador directly.
The threat to shoot diplomats was first reported by the Foreign Policy Magazine’s Cable blog in a story about the impending release of the State Department report on Mr. Gration’s management of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.
The ambassador, who will have served about 14 months when he leaves office, had called his appointment to Kenya a “dream job.” Mr. Gration, the son of missionaries, spent his childhood in Kenya and in Congo. He was also a key national security adviser to Mr. Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.
DUMPING ON TANZANIA
Tanzania’s ambassador to the United States is upset with China for “dumping” cheap goods without warranties in her African nation.
Ambassador Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar confronted Chinese merchants this week, as she accompanied U.S. business executives to an annual international trade fair in the Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam.
She was surprised to learn that none of the Chinese products, from motorcycles to electronic gadgets, came with a warranty or guarantee, the Tanzanian Daily News reported.
“The machines look really good … but you should not sell us these products without any guarantee,” she told one Chinese merchant. “This country is not a dumping site of your low-quality products.”
Mrs. Maajar also urged Tanzania’s Trade Ministry to impose regulations to ensure the foreign products include warranties.
CORRUPTION IN LIBERIA
The top U.S. diplomat to Liberia used his Fourth of July speech to urge the West African nation to fight corruption and adopt some of the principles enshrined in the America’s Declaration of Independence.
“You have identified the need for strong and effective governance that will prevent the nation’s wealth from being diverted for personal gains,” Michael Arietti, the embassy’s charge d’affaires, told Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. “Fighting corruption will take time, but it is critical for economic growth.”
Liberia is recovering from more than two decades of civil war that ended with a 2003 peace deal.
Mr. Arietti also praised Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf for policies aimed at “changing minds and attitudes so that Liberians can see that unity reconciliation, love of country, work ethics are all a necessary part of building a nation.”
“This is where I believe the example of the United States of America can be helpful,” he said.
“Our Declaration of Independence underlined that each person should be able to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We are a nation that takes pride in its diversity and which prizes the individual.”
• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.