MPs Want Kenyan Ambassador 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.
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.”
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.” - Daily Nation
From my personal experience, the Ambassador is a breath of fresh air. He lives very modestly in Manhattan after the residence was "condemned" by the MFA folks so that they could turn around and sell it off and make off with the money before elections. If they did not want him to live in Manhattan, they would not pay for the residence would they now?
The staff in NY are generally pretty happy with him from what I have gleaned from sources. Now if you want to mention his deputy, she is another matter altogether. I would say "Rogue Ambassador" comes to mind.
The Defence and Foreign Relations Committee should give Kenyans an audit of all Kenyan embassies around the globe, not just one, so that we do not end up reading mischief. Paying rent for $10,000 per month while I make peanuts after working hours on end! These government waste should end.
I am sure the same committee made an inspection tour to Odembo's office in Washington DC. Where is that report? They should also have told Kenyans why we have, for instance, members of Raila's family, H.E. Amb Elkanah Odembo( Washington Jakoyo Midiwo's brother-in-law and cousin to PM Raila, Amb Dr Wenwa Akinyi Odinga Oranga, ( Consul General at L.A. Consulate, Raila's blood sister), her niece, a House keeper/House assistant at LA Consulate, Ms Rose Ondego Oburu(Oburu Odinga's daughter) hold key positions. Is this not nepotism and abuse of office?
Why did they take our former Amb Agego away? He was not only a stateman but also a true diplomat. He helped Kenyans have a positive attitude towards our Kenyan embassy in DC. He united all Kenyans of Kenyan origin, not tribes in tribal cocoons. Now, that seems to have evaporated.
The committee should have also told us why the HE Odembo and his staff drive gas-guzzling limousines at our expense, Volvos, BMWs, Benz, with, for instance, the Military attache driving an $85,000 Lexus, beside a free poshy houses, free scholarship for their children, high salaries and other allowances. An $18,000 Toyota RAV4 can do a good job. What a mockery to Kenyans suffering for lack of simple things like Comaquin in health centers, clean water, putting three meals a day for their children etc. BURE KABISA!!!!!
@Birika, strongly support your points. Well stated. Who appointed or approved their benefits? it is a disgrace to the struggling tax payers. Nepotism, tribalism and corruption remain to adversely strain our country. We need to figure out our we can collectively advocate for a common mwana-inchi. We can do more than just complain i believe. Anyone with some constructive & peaceful ideas?
Its true why do we have the same people working at the embassy year after year, should be there 2 or 3 years max then let new people come in and go to another embassy in a different country. Foreign service officers should not be placed in a site forever, that's where the problem is..
Some ambassadors have been a disgrace, to say the least. To the faceless Manhattanite (whoever you are) stop hiding if you want us to believe in what you are trying to tell us. If the deputy ambassador is a rogue, then, her boss is a worse rogue because you can't have a rogue deputy working with "a good" boss.
We have heard similar complaints from elsewhere where the ambassador does not consult with members of staff and runs the office as if he was in his private business entrepreneurship. They believe they are heading a kingdom and even do not care about the people they represent. Corruption has been rampant in most embassies and we need a thorough audit. Questionable seminars are convened for purposes of milking public money. We know them.
But we have some very honest and hardworking ambassadors. In particular, I know for sure that the ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mohammoud Saleh is one of the most honest, reliable and easily accessible ambassadors representing Kenya today in foreign missions. He come across like former ambassador, Peter Ogego, who was a man of the people. I know of cases where Saleh has been informed about in his region and his timely responses have saved lives of many Kenyans in the racist prone Saudia.
Birika, whoever you are, well said. I agree with you. We are tired with these political and tribal bigots!
How much does Kamau Macharia earn if his rent costs about $10,000 a month? Obviously you can't pay rent more than or even half of your salary! He should be surcharged.
The Ambassador is very nice and does a good job,it is the people under him who are tribalistic and had wished the deputy who happened to be from their "tribe" to be confirmed as an Ambassador not to mention that she doesn't have any diplomatic experience whatsoever this is her first diplomatic mission,but when they brought Ambassador Macharia they were dissapointed and they have been doing anything they can to make him look bad. His deputy, when she was the acting Ambassador before Macharia came, had fired 4 staff members so that she can import members of her tribe not even caring that they have families and children to feed. When Ambassador Macharia came he reinstated all of them back and he said nobody will be fired without a reason....so you tell me who is corrupt now?..or who is the bad guy..they are just a team of one tribe - Luhya to be specific who want to control the office..well this is America, they should leave that tribalism in Kenya...