He/she is 65 years old heading a certain parastatal that has been reporting losses year after year, a graft case after another.
He/she cannot be fired because he/she is a friend to the President, Deputy President, a Cabinet Secretary or a Permanent Secretary.
The only thing that will remove him/her from the office is expiry of his term, or death. He/she is so much used to the trappings of power that even when the term expires, he/she still hangs around and calls the shots, and it takes another two years to appoint a successor. Another 70-year old ‘youth’ is appointed to the position, and the other ‘youth’, who is too young to retire, has to be given ‘lighter duties’.
He/she ends up being an ambassador, a useless ambassador just out there to mint few coins before he comes back home for a new appointment.
This is the case in the current regime, which is suffering from several departmental failures. Instead of solving the failures, the government is busy transferring the heads of those departments, with most ending up being ambassadors.
Let us start with the case of Kenya’s Ambassador to China Sarah Serem who has been silent at a time when Kenyans were suffering and being discriminated against in the Asian country.
For weeks, Kenyans have been facing attacks on streets, their homes and hostels, and in shopping malls, being accused of spreading Covid-19.
The cases started as early as April 6, with some Kenyans visiting the embassy and getting no help. For close to three weeks, several Kenyans have endured suffering in China. Whether they had valid documents or not; it is the work of the embassy to protect its citizens. Sarah Serem failed in this.
We might not have much to talk about during her tenure at the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) where she served for six years. But one thing is for sue, at SRC, she was unable to contain the ballooning wage bill in the country.
Serem was appointed alongside five others, who had worked for the government and their terms came to an end unceremoniously. She was appointed alongside former Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro (Malaysia), former Air Force Commander Major General Samuel Thuita (Israel), former legislator Paddy Ahenda (Qatar), and Johnson Kimani Ondieki (Turkey)
Ondieki was once the commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan but fired in what was thought to be negligence of duty and his involvement in illegal multibillion shilling charcoal trade in Somalia. Being close to the executive, he got the appointment to Turkey.
Paddy Ahenda is the former MP for Kasipul Kabondo, and was rejected by the voters in 2007 due to her failures after serving for two years. Becoming an ambassador might to bring any change to her and to the country. Even before Covid-19, several Kenyans who travel to Qatar for jobs have been suffering under the watch of Ms Ahenda, who has done nothing more than a year since she was appointed.
Ndegwa Muhoro headed the Criminal Investigation unit in a time when crime went extremely high, dotted with several extrajudicial killings. Graft, which falls under crime, thrived under his watch, but the government rewarded him with an ambassadorial job when his term expired.
Little is known about Major General Samuel Thuita, but still that does not make it right to appoint retirees in place where we have fresh men who can do the job.
Albert Einstein is credited with the saying that if you want different results, you must do things differently. The Kenyan government needs to change things by appointing people to ambassadorial posts based on merit and not retirement.
Without this, Kenya and Kenyans will never be respected by even its peers. Kenyans abroad will always be on their own and in most cases they will never earn respect.