BETHESDA, Md., Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Smith Hempstone Jr., who covered Kenya's independence as a reporter and later helped bring free elections as U.S. ambassador, has died at age 77.
Hempstone suffered from diabetes, the Washington Post reported. He died Sunday at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md.
A conservative columnist and author of two books on Africa, Hempstone was appointed ambassador to Kenya in 1989. He became an outspoken critic of President Daniel Arap Moi, whose party was the only legal one in the country.
While Moi's allies depicted Hempstone as a white racist, the country, under increasing international pressure, held its first multi-party elections in 1992.
Hempstone was working for the Chicago Daily News when he covered Kenyan independence. He later worked for the Washington Star and the Washington Times, where he put in a short stint as chief editor.
He was the author of "Africa: Angry Young Giant," a survey of 26 countries; and "Rebels, Mercenaries and Dividends," about the attempted secession of Katanga from the Congo; as well as "Rogue Ambassador," in which he gleefully recounted his battles with both Arap Moi and U.S. President George H.W. Bush.