NAIROBI – The directive by former Foreign Affairs CS Alfred Mutua to decentralize communication between diplomatic missions and Kenyan ministries, state departments and agencies (MDAs) has been vacated.
This means foreign diplomats will no longer have direct access to MDAs, as had been directed in March this year, and moving forward, all communication will be handled by the Office of Chief of Protocol at the State Department of Foreign Affairs.
Prime CS and Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi announced the decision on Monday, saying it was for coherence purposes.
“In a recent development, the government has revised its decision regarding direct contact between diplomatic and consular missions, UN agencies, and international organisations with government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs),” Mudavadi told the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Defence, Intelligence, and Foreign Relations.
The communication was also made to the Diplomatic Corps during Mudavadi’s inaugural meeting with the foreign envoys in Nairobi.
While lauding the diplomats for strengthening Kenya’s bilateral relations with their sending countries and assuring them of his readiness to build on the gains made, Mudavadi informed the directive to decentralize communication between diplomatic missions and government agencies had been vacated.
“We believe that this will allow for a more coherent approach to issues of mutual concern and we seek your cooperation on this matter,” he said.
Consequently, Foreign Affairs PS Korir Sing’oei, said the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations position subsists.
Article 41 (2) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations explicitly provides that: “All official business with the receiving State entrusted to the mission by the sending state shall be conducted with or through the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the receiving State or such other ministry as may be agreed.”
On March 1, 2023, CS Mutua, who has since been moved to Tourism and Wildlife Ministry, in a letter told diplomatic missions that they could communicate directly with any government agency to reduce on “traditional and mostly elitist-based bureaucracy”.
The note verbale also directed that requests for meetings involving more than one ministry would be made through the Office of the Deputy President.
“In the interest of coordination, the forgoing is subject to requirement by the missions to avail a report to the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs on the held deliberation and decision undertaken within three days of the meeting,” the note verbale said.