The bad blood between Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and her Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau has reportedly left deep divisions in the sensitive ministry that have paralyzed key operations.
According to reports, the ugly tug-of-war between the two leaders has left the staff divided with those allied to the CS accusing Kamau of calculating to kick her out from the lucrative office.
Those privy to the goings say most of the time, the two, work at cross-purposes.
“Each one of them is doing what they want. Instead of pulling together in the interest of the country the two are busy doing their own things,” a cabinet minister aware of their differences told a local media.
Some of the unprecedented changes that have been witnessed in the recent past include diplomatic staff being stripped off diplomatic privileges.
The ministry abolished overseas per diem rates and training subsistence allowances for its diplomatic staff as one of the austerity measures.
“It’s the decision of the government that effective September 1, 2019, officers going on sponsored activities either locally or abroad will no longer be entitled to quarter per diem,” a letter dated September 6, 2019 and signed by PS Kamau reads in part.
The changes that affect heads of directorates, departments, divisions and units led to Ms Monica convening a tension-packed meeting where the issues were discussed extensively.
The two leaders also sharply differed on the appointment of Mwende Mwinzi as envoy to Seoul, South Korea. Kamau is said to be blaming his boss for the current controversy surrounding Mwinzi’s appointment over Kenyan-US dual citizenship status.
Reports indicate Ms Monica pushed and misled the President to nominate Mwinzi after a section of the ministry were against it.
Mwinzi has now moved to court to compel the CS to designate and post her to Seoul as the country’s envoy, saying she has complied with all the requirements for the position. This is after she declined to renounce her US citizenship.
With the developments, Kahawa Tungu has information that Kamau’s camp is determined to ensure Ms Juma is sacked through setups that have always ‘left Monica with an egg on the face.’
The divisions are so deep to the extent that some of the staff celebrate failures encountered by the CS in the line of her duty.
The recent case is when she failed to successfully lobby for President Uhuru Kenyatta to address the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD-VII).
This saw her discredited by vocal trade unionist Francis Atwoli who attended the event.
“I want to plead with President Uhuru Kenyatta. He should reshuffle his Cabinet. In Japan, I didn’t see a good picture as an international person. I didn’t see Kenya’s good picture in Japan,” said Atwoli.
He went on, “Lobbying went on there. But because of a weak minister or ministers that lobbying put us aside. President Kenyatta must be keen on his Cabinet. He should reshuffle his Cabinet particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
According to critics, failure by President Kenyatta to address the delegates was a big embarrassment considering the fact that Kenya had just hosted the TICAD-VI summit that was held at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, in 2016. The President was perceived to be a prominent figure at the event.
This comes amid reports that President Uhuru Kenyatta is planning to sack CS for failing to live up to expectation.
Those close to the president say the CS has been unable to steer Kenya’s foreign policy well including how the ministry handled the Kenya-Somali maritime row.
The hearing of the case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was early this month postponed after Kenya formally requested the hearings be delayed to allow for recruitment of a new defence team.
“Due to exceptional circumstances, occasioned by the need to recruit a new defence team, Kenya has sought to have the matter postponed,” Attorney General Kihara Kariuki said in a statement.
Somalia sued Kenya at the ICJ, the UN’s principle Court, seeking to change the flow of the maritime boundary from the current eastwards direction from the land border at Kiunga, to a diagonal flow, threating Kenya’s sea stake.
However, Kenya has maintained that he marine boundary is determined by a parallel line of latitude to the east, as per the standards set by the colonial powers, which were adopted in the marine borders between Kenya and Tanzania, Tanzania and Mozambique and Mozambique and South Africa.