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Foreign Affairs CS to negotiate, sign deals in proposed law

National Assembly will ratify any agreement entered by the minister

In Summary

• Foreign Service Bill 2021 also gives the CS powers to approve the accreditation of a high commissioner, ambassador and diplomatic consuls to serve more than one country or jurisdiction.

• The Bill further mandates the CS to give advice to the President and Cabinet on matters to be included in the country’s foreign policy.

Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo before the Defense and Foreign Committee on February 27, 2020.
Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo before the Defense and Foreign Committee on February 27, 2020.
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA

The Cabinet secretary for Foreign Affairs will negotiate and sign international agreements on behalf of the country if a Bill before Parliament is passed.

The National Assembly will have to ratify any such agreements. 

Foreign Service Bill 2021 also gives the CS powers to approve the accreditation of a high commissioner, ambassador and diplomatic consuls to serve more than one country or jurisdiction.

The Bill further mandates the CS to give advice to the President and Cabinet on matters to be included in the country’s foreign policy.

The CS will further conduct diplomatic and consular relations on behalf of the country.

The Bill creates the Foreign Service of the Republic of Kenya within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be headed by the Cabinet secretary. 

The Foreign Service will consist of political and technical officials, attaches and other staff in the ministry. High commissioners, ambassadors and diplomatic and consular representatives will be part of it.

The office’s mandate includes establishing, promoting and maintaining good relations between Kenya and other states and governments.

The Foreign Affairs PS will act as the principal policy adviser to the Cabinet secretary on foreign policy objectives.

The Bill by the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee comes hot on the heels of a tiff between the UK and Kenya.

The row began last Friday when the UK added Kenya to its ‘Red List’ amid concerns about new Covid-19 variants and banned passengers from Nairobi. Kenya joined Tanzania and Somalia on the UK’s red list.

London said that only British, Irish and third-country nationals with residence rights in the UK will be allowed entry from April 9.

Kenya responded by suspending all passenger flights between the two states from the same date. The suspension is to be reviewed within four weeks

The Bill gives the CS power to pursue foreign policy objectives of Kenya, develop, promote and pursue its economic, social and political interests within the region and internationally.

“The Cabinet Secretary will be actively seeking bilateral, multilateral and international assistance to support national development goals of the republic,” it says.

The Bill delegates legislative power to the Cabinet secretary to make regulations for the carrying into effect its provisions.

The Foreign Service will also be actively seeking bilateral, multilateral and international assistance to support the national development goals of the country.

It will further provide representation for the country in regional and international organisations where it is a party and promote international trade and export of Kenyan products abroad.

 

(edited by o. owino)