Saturday, August 15, 2009



Friday, August 14 2009

"Former MPs have last laugh as they are named envoys to foreign lands"

Kenyan politicians who were rejected in the 2007 General Election have landed lucrative jobs as ambassadors.

And in their new jobs, they enjoy just as much benefits as they were denied by taxpayers, the Saturday Nation has learnt.

Many former MPs were appointed to the plum jobs, which allow them to control huge budgets, by the coalition government at the expense of career diplomats.

The appointments have demoralised civil servants who have risen through the ranks and were hoping to land the jobs.

Seven civil servants have been elevated to the level of ambassador but are serving at the Foreign Affairs ministry headquarters as heads of department because there are no openings abroad.

Some of the politicians chosen ahead of career staff include former minister and Trans Mara MP, Mr Julius ole Sunkuli, who was posted to Beijing, China.

Former Defence assistant minister Stephen Tarus is the ambassador-designate to Australia. He has gone through the necessary training and is only waiting to officially start duty.

A former MP and close confidant of Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Mr Mutinda Mutiso, is Kenya’s envoy to Tanzania while youthful Yvonne Khamati, who ran for Parliament in the 2002 General Election, represents Kenya at the United Nations office in Nairobi.

Fuelled allegations

Besides ambassadors, former Agriculture minister Kipruto Kirwa was recently appointed African Union envoy to the Somalia peace process while former MP, Wafula Wamunyinyi, represents Kenya in Igad.

All the government had to do was to suggest the names to the AU and Igad for them to be appointed by the organisations, which also pay them.

The political appointees have pushed the number of non-career civil servants to more than half the country’s nearly 50 envoys and fuelled allegations of favouritism and tribalism.