In a rare attack on Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma, Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli has called for changes in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, saying it is not up to date.
“We had a problem in Japan. And that’s why I am asking President Uhuru Kenyatta to try and change the Cabinet because I didn’t see a good picture in Japan… as an international person. I did not see Kenya’s good picture in Japan,” Atwoli said.
“In 2016, we chaired the meeting, and our President came to Japan as outgoing Ticad chairman. There was ongoing lobbying there and because of weak minister or ministers, that lobbying put us aside,” he added.
The Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development happened last week in which Uhuru was accompanied by among others Juma, Ukur Yatani (Ag Treasury and Labour), James Macharia (Transport) and Sicily Kariuki (Health).
President Uhuru reportedly didn’t aadress the conference, despite him having hosted the first ever Ticad outside Japan and in Africa in 2016. Instead, Egypt President Abdul Fatten Al-Sisi spoke in his capacity as the AU chairman.
“The President should reshuffle his Cabinet, particularly in the Foreign Affairs ministry,” the Cotu boss said.
Atwoli said the ministry needs someone with lobbying skills such former CS Amina Mohamed, Robert Ouko, Munywa Waiyaki, the late Mung’ai, and Elijah Mwangale, who were shrewd in lobbying in that ministry.
“We need someone who can do better lobbying such as the former Foreign Affairs CS Amina, thus positioning Kenya well,” Atwoli said.
He said according to him, the ministry is ”not up to date.
Amina, was, however, not able to lobby for herself to get the Africa Union Commission chairmanship when she was at the ministry, which she lost to Moussa Faki of Mali.
Kenya is currently lobbying for the United Nations Security Council non-permanent seat after being endorsed by the African Union last month.
Kenya now needs the support of two-thirds of UN member States (129 votes) to win a seat at the UNSC, which comprises China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US sitting as permanent members with 10 fixed-term membership slots shared among African and Asian countries.
Juma, however, said the Japan trip was productive. “Kenya’s participation to Ticad 7 was significant with four over subscribed side events in the blue economy, Kenya-Japan business forum, on the upcoming ICPD conference and a diaspora event,” she said.
“Yokohama also provided an opportunity for the delegation to engage on a number of bilateral multilateral issues with key partners. Among them peace and security, trade and investment, blue economy, infrastructural development, UHC, HR development and tourism, among others,” she tweeted.