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November 19, 2018

Too many politicians are now ambassadors

President Uhuru Kenyatta shakes hand with the American Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec who called on him at State House, Nairobi yesterday Photo PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta shakes hand with the American Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec who called on him at State House, Nairobi yesterday Photo PSCU

Career diplomats are unhappy that an increasing number of political and external appointees are getting ambassadorial posts (see P6).

Some countries like the USA allow political appointees but they often alternate with political appointees. For instance, the American ambassador to Kenya, Robert Godec, a career diplomat, is due to be replaced by Kyle McCarter, an Illinois state senator and Trump ally.

European countries generally appoint career diplomats as ambassadors.

A former politician may excel at networking with the political class in the country where he is appointed. However, a career diplomat not only understands government bureaucracy and diplomatic protocol but also has wide international experience to provide a deeper understanding of any country.

Today probably two-thirds of Kenya’s ambassadors are political or external appointees. Many are of questionable competence.

This is demoralising for the career diplomats who are the bedrock of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Let Kenya have a few political appointees as ambassadors but the majority should be career diplomats.

Quote of the day: “Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires.”

King Macbeth

The Scottish king died in battle on August 15, 1057

 

 

 

 

 

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