Meet Ambassador Jean Kamau, Interim Chief of Mission at the Kenya Embassy in Washington, DC

Ambassador Jean Njeri Kamau is the interim Chief of Mission and Chargé d'affaires at the Kenyan embassy in Washington, DC until a new ambassador is appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and approved by Parliament.

The new move follows the departure earlier this week of Ambassador Elkanah Odembo, who was among the ambassadors and high commissioners recalled by President Uhuru Kenyatta last month.

(READ: Elkanah Odembo's Tenure as Kenya's Ambassador to the U.S. Ends)

Ambassador Kamau arrived at the embassy in February of this year as the Deputy Chief of Mission. Prior to her appointment as the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Ambassador Kamau was an institutional development consultant for UNDP’s Amkeni programme. She is also a former Executive Director of Federation of women Lawyers (FIDA) Kenya (1992-2000) and the National Public Complaints Standing Committee (“The Ombudsman”).  She has also worked for several international agencies including UK-based Womankind International and Action Aid International.

She holds two masters degrees; a Masters in Law from Aberdeen University in Scotland and a Masters in Democratic Studies from Leeds University in the UK.

Observer's picture

She has started badly. Intrigues going on at the embassy already. Treating the outgoing ambassador very badly.

Observer's picture
John Maina

Outgoing Ambasssador Elkana Odembo has a very powerful resume also. That means Ambassador Jean Kamau will be replaced by a person of a different ethnic group as soon we get a new president -- is that the trend that Uhuru is setting? I though Uhuru was digital but this is an analog behavior.

Observer's picture
Stephen Mwangi

I'm sure you didn't expect his tour of duty to be permanent. I also don't see anything wrong with replacing him with a person from a different region.This position is not a preserve if a given community. The ambassador represents the president in the respective foreign country and must therefore be one whose vision and is in consonance the that of the president. Hence, the president must be allowed to have his choice.There are alot of Kenyanss who have fat resumes that can be of the service to the country and a lso give a chance to person from a different community to serve . Isn't that one of the pillars of the new constitution? ?

Last but not least, it's hard to make sense out of your comment. The first sentence and the beginning of the second don't seem to have coherence.

Observer's picture

Well said....

Observer's picture

I pray that may God of Israel, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob help her as she face her challenges on this assignment. We should support each other whether we agree or not.

Observer's picture

@Al, I agree with your sentiments we should support each other whether we agree or not. In this regard I wish you welcome you to Washington Ambassador Kamau. All the best to you as you serve the people of Kenya in your interim position, and as Al also mentioned, we pray that God will bless the work of your hands.

Observer's picture

Amb. Odembo is moving on to become Vice President of a major World organization in charge of Africa Region. Wale wanafikiri they victimized him waone haya. He is very okey and happy to move on to a better gig!

Observer's picture
Pat Kenjuu

@Maina, your comment is rather premature. To begin with, Amb. Kamau was not appointed as Depety Chief of Mission by President Uhuru. Second, Uhuru has not yet nominated Amb Kamau as Kenyan ambassador in Washington D.C.; and neither has parliament vetted and approved her nomination. Lastly, may I remind you that ambassadorial positions are political appointments. Just like former PM appointed Amb Odembo and his sister as Consular General in Los Angeles, so is Uhuru entitled to nominate whomever he desires to appoint. Digital or analog administration has nothing to do with such appointments; it is all politics and political favoritism!

Observer's picture
john kamau

Ambassador Jean needs all the support she can get from all of us, till her successor arrives. The intrigues and shenanigans of the past administration should be buried pronto. Enhancing the 50 year warm relationship between the great peoples of The US and their Administration is enough work for her. Purging the embassy of mediocrity, tribal and party activism as promoted by her predecessor even as she moves to unite the divided Kenyans. Odembo ensured only his puppets received audience from him and his henchmen in the embassy, Ondembo's Orphans in the powerful ambassadors councils should not panic. Ambassador Jena must be the ambassador for all Kenyans. So far so Good ambassador Jean, Kenyans are having live phone answers and timely service for ones.

Observer's picture
Githua M. Kariuki

I do not always agree with whatever John Kamau says, but this time round, I agree with him 100%. Ambassador Jean Kamau can be described as a Diplomat who is performing her duties at the Kenya Embassy, Washington, D.C., with the highest degree of efficiency and effectiveness. If you call her, she picks your phone call the soonest she is able to. She pays incredible attention to your concerns and attempts to find ways and means to reach to a resolution. I must say that she is bringing a resemblance of an embassy for the first time since Ambassador Peter N. O. Ogego left in 2009. Ambassador Ogego, a Luo by tribe, served all Kenyans irrespective of their tribal affiliation. He gave out his personal cell phone number to reach him any time you needed him. He left Kenyans in USA peaceful and united when his tour of duty came to end. We miss Ambassador Peter Ogego.

Observer's picture

Uhuruto is beyond tribal and petty. It is treating with vengeance those it brands CORD members and sympathizers. I do not think Jean will receive cooperation from those she has began to 'label' this or that. Her vindictive and malicious treatment of the outgoing just shows how petty she is. Coz she brings no goodwill, she will not receive it either. I guess all the Kiuks and Uhuruto people will bootlick. By the way how have things changed in two days?. She has been acting head only for three days. Anyway, thank God she is just acting.

I hope the new ambassador that will come will be mature and a uniting figure

Observer's picture
Njeri Rose

Mtu wetu Dada kuja utusaidie. This is professionalism though it is true that all diplomatic jobs that were held by Luos are being replaced by Kikuyus.

Observer's picture
Isaac Newton Kinity

Please give us a break. Until Ambassador Odembo left the Kenyan Mission in Washington DC, Ambassador Jean Kamau worked under him as his deputy. As deputy Ambassador, Ambassador Kamau received all instructions from Ambassador Odembo. How was she mistreating him as his deputy? Odembo never at any one given time, work as Kamau's junior at the Kenyan Embassy in Washington DC. Please be specific and elaborate this because we are in total darkness in this subject of mistreatment of Odembo, "under Jean". But one thing that is very important for all Kenyans to avoid, is insults, be it on Jean or Odembo. Both of them are our Diplomats and we must respect their positions. Kenyans must only come out without fear to challenge them when they make mistakes, and when they do so, they must be specific, respectful and watchful of their language, and they should not hide their identity. Ambassador Jean Kamau was brought to the Kenyan Embassy in Washington DC by the Kibaki Raila Administration. Since then, she had all along worked under Ambassador Odembo until a few days ago. It is very hard to judge someone within such a short period.

Unless Ambassador Jean has done something terribly wrong to warrant the arrogant behavior we are witnessing now, Kenyans in Diaspora should be more transparent and straight forward. Tell Kenyans what terrible thing Jean has done, and we will not spare her either. If not so, please leave Ambassador Jean alone and stop the cheap Kenyan tribal politics.

Observer's picture
Amos Wasike

Bw. Kinnity, you're correct. When our take on policy differs from what government officials may be proposing, or when public servants error we are justified in tearing the policy in question apart, but NOT THE PERSON. There was a spirited campaign by a few powerful and some common folks - in Kenya and in the US - to discredit everything Odembo said and did. Of course this could be expected. As a result, Amb. Odembo never had a chance to do the 'right' thing. He never had a chance to 'earn credibility' . I would add that not every Odembo's critic did so because of his tribe , but some criticism, in my view, was tribal paranoia that assails our country at every level. Harshest critics, mostly hiding behind fancy pseudonyms, never embraced Odembo. Why? Because of his relationship with RAO and other prominent and close allies of Odinga.

Uhuruto have a right to determine who represents their interests home and abroad. Are president's/government's interests our interests? You decide.

I believe Amb. Jean Kamau knows the realities of her stay in DC/USA. The group opposed to Odembo above are now celebrating 'victory', even before she starts executing diplomatic functions in the acting capacity. They will applaud every time she clears her throat, and will sing her praises for every word she utters. Conversely, ardent supporters of RAO/Amb. Odembo are sharpening their knives, ready 'cut' her feet off, should she be nominated/confirmed to replace Amb. Odembo.. This is wrong! Both these groups do not have the best of our collective interests as a diverse country. We all need to sober up! Unfortunately, the situation will not get better.

I wish Amb. Kamau or whoever is sent to DC the best of luck.

Observer's picture

Excellent comments Wasike. I wish we could read more from folks like you!

Observer's picture
Stephen Mwangi

Very well stated Wasike.If we all rose above our tribal outfits we could more objective in our critique. No matter who occupies whatever office we should judge them based on the content of their character and the diligence in service delivery.

Having said that, it's fair to question gender, regional and other aspect that constitutes our reach diversity. Each if this region has people well qualified to serve in any profession or capacity. Lack of talent is therefore no longer a tenable excuse .

Finally, lets exercise decorum and respect dissent opinion. It makes us better and creates an informed society. Bigotry only tears us apart and tends to revert the gains we've made. I miss the days when I admired my classmates from the different regions in the country for what they were good at.When we made fun fun of each other, it was just that.

Lastly, I quote P. L. O. Lumumba; "I have the perfect recipe for a national cohesion"."Let us combine the energy of the Luhya with the entrepreneurship of the Kikuyu, with a little dose of the Wakamba and Miji Kenda humility, the Maasai's zeal and zest and the Luo's quest for perfection and the beautiful qualities of all Kenyan nations and what looks like the tower of Babel will be the power of Babel.

Observer's picture
Mshona Viatu

Most Kenyans are not tribalists by nature. They are like an FM radio that you tune to get the station you want. Most Kenyans will diffuse and come out from their tribal cocoons the moment a public servant behave performs his duty with professionalism and awe. In this error and time, most Kenyans are seeking for a leader who will preach tribalism or regionalism. As for me, it doesn't really matter who is at the helm as long as he/she represent the nation and the people of Kenya. It is painful to see innocent Kenyans dying during elections ( while their immediate families are taken on oversees vacation for safety) and after they are over, leaders dish prime jobs to their families, friends and relatives as parents are left to bury their sons and daughters.

Ambassador Ogego was a true diplomat who refused to be swayed by his any ethnic group for its own advantage. He transformed the Kenyan embassy in DC from a Kenya Commercial Bank (KBC) for KANU regime's children, concubines, relatives, who were learning for free in universities like George Washington, etc, with Amb Nzibo as Managing Director. He transformed the embassy to be an alternative home and sanctuary for Kenyans living in USA, unlike in the past when detested the feeling of thinking of seeking help. He mixed freely with Kenyans and unless somebody told you .."Hey, .this is our Balozi, you couldn't tell he loved his country.

On the contrary, Amb Odembo was the opposite of all that. Either he was guilty of the tribalism and nepotism surrounding his appointment or he was holding that office for other purposes or individuals. How on earth are you appointed as ambassador by your cousin, his blood sister a Consul, and then she(Dr Wenwa) appoint her niece Ms Oburu as an Office Assistant?Manager? Sounds weird from the word go. But I think the incident which showed him his true colors is when president Obama compared Kenya to Syria, yet our country was not at any time in war with anybody/itself. Am not a diplomat, I only mend shoes, but common sense dictates that if I were in that position, I would have rebuked and/or used mean words to defend my country on behalf on my boss(es), my government, and the people of Kenya. But his continued silence, amidst the election mood at that time, led me to read between the lines: yes, tell them Sir! To be honest, this was serving the interest of only one man: Raila.

As for Amb Jean Kamau, its still too early to assess her performance. I just hope she will serve the interest of us all with favor. I hope she will breath in some fresh attitudes especially from her senior staff who drives luxury cars ( on top of other mouth-watering allowances) like lexus, Benz, BMWs etc,. at the expense of Kenyan tax-payers. Because after everything is said and done, I will still continue mending shoes at 1287 Pratt St, three jobs to plough, oblivious of who is what, and what is who!

Observer's picture
George Mungai

I have lived in the US for over thirty years. Living in Baltimore and Washington been a stone throw away, I have always tried to keep in touch with my "home" in DC...the Kenyan embassy. True change came to DC with the arrival of former Ambassador Ogego. He transformed the embassy to a place that you felt proud be in. Mshona Viatu is right. Balozi Ogego gave you his personal cell phone number so you could reach him any time.

I pray and hope Ambassador Kamau maintains and keeps up what Ambassador Ogego started.

Observer's picture
John maina

@mungai, I have lived in the USA just as long and I clasify Ogego as the 5 worst ambassadors in Washington. Of course he gave his personal cell nu Bets to proe he believed were his sycophants. He never gave me his number although I was running a major diaspora group.

Observer's picture

The beauty of discourse, based on this thread, is that everyone has an opinion, and everyone sees things either from a half empty or half full perspective. I hope respect and decorum remain fundamental pillars within our respective outlooks.

Observer's picture
jogoo kakamvu

I am praying in a corner that this messiah with great words of Wishdoom is not john mainah odhiambo formerly of the Prime Minister’s office. If I be wrong and the odds appear higher, May I please be put in the Know. Just to straighten the records; John Odhiambo Mainah am alluding to, for Diaspora new comers; is the Guy Raila hired because of his Name. He moved to Nairobi masquerading Diaspora representative. Maina camouflaged his real name to demonize all diasporans, from all other communities but his Luo Nyanza. Elkana Odembos divisive orchestra was written and paced by Maina. Odembo jumped or Crawled when Maina said either.

If Odembo was divisive Odhiambo John Maina was the catalyst. He zoomed between DC and Nairobi like Kibera and Kodere just to trumpet divisions. The Odembo Fora or councils that were funded by our taxes, were his babies. If he has silently slipped back to US it will be such a wonderful experience to watch him become human again. Welcome Odhiambo. Only remember your wishdoom Jettisoned Raila thus we do not need it here. Leave government officers alone. You offered your services let others do.

Observer's picture

@Jogoo Kakamvu,

Ha ha ha ha! You are such a great comedian and entertainer. I will treat your post above as nothing serious but entertainment in the midst of a very important discussion. And since its comedy, all your statements above should be regarded as false information.

Observer's picture
Edith Mukudi

I live in Los Angeles. We had two parallel consulates/ Missions here in Los Angeles. An ineffective Luo Consulate and a subversive Kikuyu Consulate. We have a long way to go. Both professionalism and service were lacking, because kinship from both ends came first. Kibaki's structure never left with the advent of "KOALISON" and the superimposed Raila structure had little understanding of what diplomatic mission means- ati pigeni simu Nairobi wenyewe!! And I am and still remain a 'Raila Damu' even as I say this.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions to
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Facebook Comments Box

Follow us on Twitter @mwakilishi.

Featured Article

Dr Jerono Phylis Rotich, a native of Kenya and professor at North Carolina A&T State University, has received two awards for her outstanding leadership.

At a Gala event held on April 20, 2016, the North Carolina A&T University Stude...

12269 reads

Featured Article

“Wanjugu the Global Citizen”, a Kenyan in the Diaspora and the owner of the popular Youtube channel “Demystifying the Diaspora” addresses the issue of mental health in the Kenyan Diaspora community.

In the video below, Wanjugu discusses the...

8976 reads

Featured Article

Starting March 15th, 2016, USA Permanent Residents visiting or transiting through Canada by air will be required to have an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) prior to traveling.

The new requirement only applies to visa-exempt foreign na...

12050 reads

Featured Article

A Kenyan has just landed a big job at one of the biggest film studios in the world.

Hezron Karanja has been appointed Vice President of Finance at Paramount Pictures Corporation. Karanja, who lives in California, has been with Paramount sin...

14893 reads


Aggregated Feeds