National Assembly Defence Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committee chairman Nelson Koech broached the need for professional diplomats as ambassadors instead of politicians, eliciting mixed reactions.
However, as President William Ruto plans a shake-up in his diplomatic corps, with some ambassadors recalled and, thus, ending their tour of duty, he ought to appoint as envoys and other officials to Kenya’s foreign missions experts who will deliver in so far as the interests of the country are concerned.
Diplomacy and political analysts however say politicians in the Kenya Kwanza fold who backed his election are likely to land the positions as is our tradition. Other diplomatic sources however think the President is keen on professionalising the missions.
It is said that, with UDA and Kenya Kwanza’s foreign policy to boost international relations, experts would be appointed in these coveted posts to spur economic development regionally and globally.
The regimes of Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi were, unfortunately, known to put their close associates in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) with the positions a preserve of unsuccessful politicians. But President Mwai Kibaki started the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) in 2007, the first of its kind, to train and produce professional diplomats. President Ruto should follow suit if MFA staff as civil servants have to bring economic diplomacy.
The President should blend politicians and diplomacy and international relations experts—not as a political reward but vital strategy to enhance the economy, boost climate change resilience and empower regional and global cooperation and trade, eventually strengthening international ties.
Mr Kurgat is a lecturer at the School of Information Sciences, Moi University. [email protected].