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Raila’s sister among diplomats to return home after expiry of contracts

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Wenwa Akinyi Odinga OrangaFormer Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s sister is among five diplomats who are coming home after expiry of their contracts by mid this year, Saturday Nation has established.

The contract of Dr Wenwa Akinyi, the Consul-General in Los Angeles, US, expires on March 31 and the Foreign Ministry will replace her.

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Dr Akinyi was appointed Consul-General in Los Angeles, California, in 2009. Prior to her appointment, she was a senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi.

Also lined up for exit is Mr Peter Ogego Oginga, a former ally of Mr Odinga who was stationed at the National Defence College and whose contract expires in August. Others are Mr Ephraim Ngare (London), Maj-Gen Geoffrey Okanga (Uganda) and Mr Ngugi Gitau (Seoul).

Contracts for Mr Ngare, Mr Okanga and Mr Gitau expire in March, May and September respectively.

The Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary, Dr Karanja Kibicho, confirmed the expiry of contracts for the five diplomats, even as independent sources put the figure at 12.

 

Working without contracts

“We extended their contracts by one to two years. The principle was the same because some of them were working without contracts. Their contracts expired in 2012, but were not recalled.

We did it retrospectively to ensure that they have valid contracts. I sent the letters this January,” Dr Kibicho (below) said during an interview with Saturday Nation on Thursday. He explained that since the Foreign office was a security docket, the ministry had an envoy based at the defence college in Karen, Nairobi.

He noted the piecemeal replacements were meant to allow for continuity within the Foreign service.

“Most of them are into two years. You know very well that past ambassadors came back when their contracts expired. Also the arrival of the new government saw the appointments of ministers, permanent secretaries and ambassadors. We chose to do things differently because of continuity. The other thing was to avoid audit queries of paying people who had no contracts,” Dr Kibicho said.

“This is the beginning. Those whose contracts have expired return home. And then, we look at the credentials of those remaining,” an officer who could not be named for fear of reprisals said.

Discounted claims

Dr Kibicho discounted claims that the ministry was auditing credentials of its envoys in foreign missions to weed out unqualified envoys and those who benefited from nepotism and tribalism during previous governments.

“Why would we do that when we have their CVs in our files? I know that there are certain individuals who want to provoke us to talk about a reshuffle in this ministry. We know that they have been lobbying,” he said.

Just before President Kibaki exited last year, the government named 32 envoys, who were expected to replace those whose contracts had expired. Some of the envoys were recruited and posted without being vetted by Parliament as stipulated by the law.

– Daily Nation

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