Wednesday, April 3, 2013

US envoy Carson retires

The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson has retired. Photo/FILE

The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson has retired. Photo/FILE  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By KEVIN J KELLEY in NEW YORK

The head of the US State Department’s Africa Bureau, Mr Johnnie Carson, has retired.

He formally retired on March 29, ending a 44-year career that included service as Washington’s envoy to Nairobi from 1999 to 2003.

Soon after taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Mr Carson assistant secretary of state for African affairs.

He was the US pointman in Africa during a momentous four-year period that saw a decline of Al-Shabaab control in Somalia; independence of South Sudan; mayhem in eastern Congo; conflict in Mali and the Central African Republic; and economic advances and greater democratic stability in several countries, including Kenya.

Mr Carson “did an admirable job,” said Prof Joel Barkan, a US-based Africa scholar. “He put out many fires and made no major mistakes.”

Mr Donald Yamamoto has been moved up from number two in the Africa Bureau to acting assistant secretary. He has been ambassador to Eritrea, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Speculation concerning a potential permanent successor to Ambassador Carson currently centres on Gayle Smith who works in the White House as a special assistant to the president and senior director at the National Security Council. Ms Smith has an extensive

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