There will be no substantive Kenya’s Ambassador to Moscow to receive President Uhuru Kenyatta as he arrives to attend the Russia-Africa inaugural Summit.
Kenya has not had an ambassador since Paul Kurgat, the former IEBC commissioner, finished his tour of duty in 2015, having arrived in Moscow in 2010.
The mission is currently under a charge d’Affaires, Winnie Mwanjala, who is supported by only three other diplomats — First Secretary Dr Dorothy Rotich, Financial Attache David Shisanya and Administrative attache Josephine Lihumi
In January 2016, Hillary Kyengo was posted as Deputy Head of Mission and acted as Kenya’s ambassador up to September 2018.
He would later be arrested over allegations of attempting to extort Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia, and was also under investigation for being in possession of illegal ammunition. He was arrested alongside James Kagecha and David Mwaniki.
Former Sports PS Richard Ekai was in 2018 appointed to be ambassador, but could not take up the position after he was indicted by Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji over alleged misappropriation of Sh55 million in the Rio Scandal.
In his place and to fill in the vacuum, Foreign Affairs appointed Winnie Mwanjala Rogers, a career diplomat, as the chargé d’affaires.
Mwanjala has worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1991, when she joined as a cadet.
She has worked in different Departments in the Ministry Headquarters inter-alia Protocol, Administration, Kenya Mission to Unep.
Charge d’Affaires Mrs Winnie Mwanjala meets with representatives of Business Russia, an All-Russian Public Organization uniting more than three thousand entrepreneurs, on Tuesday, August 13, 2019/ PHOTO/ KENYAN EMBASSY IN RUSSIA
In her diplomatic career, she has worked as the Deputy Head of Mission at High Commission Canberra, Australia; Tripoli, Libya and Stockholm, Sweden, where she also acted as an ambassador of high commissioner in each of the stations.
Kenya does not have embassies in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and diplomatic functions are assigned to the Kenyan embassy in Moscow.
Between October 23-24, Russia, a big geopolitical player in Africa during the cold war, will host the Russia-Africa Summit, which appears to follow other meetings held by different global powers to fight for influence and commercial opportunities in the resource-rich continent. Other summits have been the US-Africa leaders Summit, China’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and Japan’s Ticad. The UK and France have such meetings scheduled for next year.
“In a charm offensive in the seaside resort of Sochi, President Vladimir Putin will welcome more than 40 African leaders — including those of Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa — as he tries to sell Russia as a longstanding and dependable partner, in contrast to the US and the former colonial European powers,” The Financial Times reported.
Kenya’s Charge d’affaires Winnie Mwanjala and Russia’s Ambassador to Kenya Dmitry Maksimychev receive Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma on arrival in Sochi, Russia on Wednesday PHOTO MFA
“President Uhuru Kenyatta will lead the Kenyan delegation for the Russia-Africa Summit that begins today. We will also seize this opportunity to engage with a number of delegations to promote our bilateral and multilateral relations,” Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma said on Wednesday.