Audit offers Uhuru chance to revamp Kenyan embassies

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has a chance to change Kenya’s missions abroad following a Parliamentary audit which exposed massive rot at the embassies.

The report, handed over to Parliament in January, just two months to the last election, cited ethnicity and nepotism in the appointment of envoys.

At least 13 envoys and high commissioners were irregularly serving after their terms expired, said the report by the Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations.

The report said their overstay had cost more than Sh265 million in remuneration and rent by December 2011.

Some had overstayed for as long as 32 months, especially in Islamabad and London.

This week, all 52 envoys were ordered to return to Nairobi for briefing by the new Jubilee government.

The briefing is seen as a softer way of assessing the leadership in the missions.

“Because of the failure to appoint the right people to the diplomatic service, Kenya’s international standing and image has suffered over the years,” the Parliamentary report said.

Previously, ambassadors and high commissioners were appointed by the President but under the new Constitution, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nominees would be vetted by Parliament.

The report said the Foreign Affairs ministry lacked a policy on recalling and extending terms of diplomatic appointees.

President Kenyatta could also deal with ethnic balancing after the report noted that most envoys came from the home regions of former President Kibaki, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.

Those from Mr Kibaki’s Nyeri and Mr Odinga’s Siaya accounted for six per cent of the appointees each.

Kitui county, the home region of Mr Musyoka, had 4.6 per cent.

“There is an apparent correlation of skewed concentration of appointments to diplomatic service from counties represented by the President, Prime Minister and Vice President,” the report noted.

Four counties — Tana River, Elgeyo Marakwet, Laikipia and Bomet — did not have an envoy.

The committee said the appointments violated provisions of the Constitution.

“Despite the fact that the law does not recognise relationship as a disqualification to public service, the presence of nepotism could not be ruled out in the appointments,” the report said.

The team recommended the urgent enactment of the Foreign Service Bill to streamline the diplomatic service.

Source:nation.co.ke

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