Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
US ambassador to Kenya 1989-1993, Smith Hempstone was one of the few people in the country at the time to publicly voice criticism of President Daniel arap Moi and his party KANU. He was instrumental in the fight for multipartyism in Kenya, primarily by lending his substantial support to the civil society grouped around the Kariokor Estates in Nairobi. In the legally one-party state, these civil society groups served as de facto opposition parties and were the source for many of the later politicions who founded NARC, the coalition whose presidential canidate, Mwai Kibaki, democratically ousted Moi in 2002.
Smith Hempstone is still remembered by many Kenyans as a hero of the people. During his tenure, multiple rallies were held in his support outside the US embassy. Moi's government wasn't such a fan--according to Hempstone, they tried at least twice to have him assassinated.
Prior to his post in Kenya, Hempstone served as a columnist and editor for the Washington Times and as an African correspondent for the Chicago Daily News. In 1997 Hempstone published his version of Kenya's move to multipartyism in The Rogue Ambassador: an African Memoir. The book has been criticized as biased towards the US and for its unfavorable view of the Mau-Mau rebellion. In 2001 Moi and other KANU officials filed a lawsuit against Hempstone for libel.
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