MPs want Kenyan envoy to UN recalled

Parliament’s Defence and Foreign Relations Committee wants Kenya’s ambassador to the United Nations Macharia Kamau recalled as a matter of national interest January 9, 2013. FILE

Parliament’s Defence and Foreign Relations Committee wants Kenya’s ambassador to the United Nations Macharia Kamau recalled as a matter of national interest.

The committee has also asked the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate Mr Kamau and the operations of the New York-based Kenya mission to the UN.

It says Mr Kamau’s behaviour is “wanting, contrary to the provisions of Chapter Six of the Constitution, the Public Officers Ethics Act and the Public Procurement and Disposal Act.”

“In that respect, he is unfit to be a diplomat and so, he should be recalled as a matter of national interest,” it concludes in a report tabled in Parliament Wednesday morning.

It says Mr Kamau and any other officer in the mission who is found to have flouted financial regulations or abused their office should be held accountable and surcharged.

The committee says Mr Kamau was posted to New York via a letter of notification and that the MPs have not seen an appointment letter or contract to justify the posting.

It further says that the ambassador “has a serious problem with his ego as evidenced in abandoning the official residence and opting for an expensive rented apartment at the expense of the taxpayer".

The committee was in New York in July 2012 on an inspection tour and found that the ambassador has abandoned the official residence there and taken up an apartment for which the government pays $9,835 a month.

But there are people who are still occupying the residence and “the committee could not rule out the possibility that the Permanent Representative irregularly rented out some rooms.”

High-handed

The committee says it “gathered” that the ambassador intimidates staff at the embassy and is high-handed.

“The ambassador’s lone approach to the approach to the management of the mission does not reflect well for operations, and may be the reason for inadequate diplomatic courtesies not only for delegations but also for the Kenyan Diaspora living in the United States.”

Overall, says the committee, Kenya needs a Foreign Service Bill to regulate the appointment, posting and recall of its ambassadors  and the running of its missions abroad.

According to the Constitution, the President has the power to nominate and appoint high commissioners, ambassadors and diplomatic and consular representatives but has to get approval from the National Assembly.  

The committee’s analysis of appointments shows that there is a skewed concentration of members of Kenya’s diplomatic service from counties represented by the President, Vice President, Foreign Affairs minister and the Permanent Secretary and other senior officers in the ministry.

Nyeri, Kiambu, Siaya and Homa Bay each have a six per cent share in the foreign service, while Kitui, Samburu, Kakamega and Bungoma have 4.6 per cent each.  

Tana River, Elgeyo Marakwet, Laikipia and Bomet counties don’t have representation at the ambassadorial or deputy ambassador level.

“The appointment of diplomatic representatives does not therefore reflect the spirit and letter of the Constitution.”

 

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