Six nominees for ambassadorial jobs faced an uphill task last week to defend themselves before MPs over old age.
Five of the nominees are 60 years old, while one is 49 years old and they appeared before the Defence and Foreign Relations committee for vetting as is the norm.
The five, who are 60 years old include former Kenya Navy commander, Ngewa Mukala (Khartoum, Sudan), Jean Kimani (UN-Habitat), Benson Ogutu (Moscow, Russia), Catherine Mwangi (Pretoria, South Africa) and Samuel Nandwa (Juba, South Sudan).
The 49-year-old is former BBI joint secretary, Martin Kimani, nominated to the United Nations, New York.
The MPs felt that the nominees were too old, and at several instances asked them to step down for younger persons to be nominated to the positions.
“You are 60 years old. There are people who have completed school and are looking for jobs. What makes you think you are suitable for this appointment yet there are young people who want jobs.Don’t you think you should decline this nomination in favour of a younger person?” posed Central Imenti MP Moses Kirima.
However, according to Mukala, it would be indiscipline to say no when the Head of State gives you an appointment.
“It is true I’m 60. But I’m retired not tired. Being in the military, it is indiscipline to say no when the Head of State gives you an appointment. It is the highest level of indiscipline and I’m not going to do it,” said Mukala.
All the appointees except one were picked from retirement and did not object the appointments, with some citing their experiences while others had no defence at all.
“In 2013, I was posted as High commissioner to Botswana and later posted to the Europe and Commonwealth directorate. I retired last year and started a consultancy before I was nominated,” said Jean Kimani.
Ambassador Ogutu defended himself saying that he was the best suited to fill the position in Russia, due to his experience.
“Experience cannot be gained when young. It can only be gained when old. I believe the experience I have will be key in advancing the country’s interests in Russia,” he said.