Why Uhuru moved CS Monica Juma from Foreign Affairs ministry

In a Cabinet reshuffle announced on Tuesday by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma was switched with her Defence counterpart Raychelle Omamo.

Juma succeeded Amina Mohamed at the Old Treasury building when she was promoted from the position of PS in the same ministry in Uhuru’s second term government.

And while she has arguably done her best to clear the mess left behind by Mohamed, her tenure has not been a smooth ride.

Talk of her firing came to the public in September 2017 following disquiet at the Ministry.

President Kenyatta was reportedly unhappy with her over squabbles with her PS, Ambassador Macharia Kamau, who was brought from New York, over the management of affairs at the ministry and Kenya’s alleged dwindling diplomatic power.

Sources told a local paper that CS Juma was working at cross-purpose with Kamau.

“Each one of them is doing what they want. Instead of pulling together in the interest of the country the two are busy doing their own things,” a Cabinet minister who was aware of the friction told the publication.

The President was also reportedly unhappy with the manner in which Juma was handling the Somalia maritime dispute as well as the UN Security Council non-permanent seat bid for 2021-22.

Kenya risks losing a chunk of its Indian Ocean waters if it loses the case at the International Court of Justice.

The President had to intervene and in November last year met Somalia President Mohamed Farmajo for the second time in an attempt to solve the dispute out of court

President Mohamed Farmaajo and President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday, November 14, 2019 /PSCU

While Kenya defeated Djibouti at the African Union for the Security Council seat, the Horn of Africa state in defiance launched its parallel bid, and has attracted the support of powerful states such as France, the US and Arab countries based on its strategic positioning for commercial and military ports.

China last week made an about-turn and said it was behind Djibouti’s bid.

Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh said China confirmed a commitment to back it in seeking “greater visibility and presence” in the international community, including a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

China, which has in recent years enjoyed close diplomatic relations with Kenya, had only last month assured Kenya of its support during elections for the UNSC seat scheduled for June.

This was communicated by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s special envoy Wang Yong when he paid a courtesy call on President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House Nairobi.

He said China believes Kenya is better placed to voice Africa’s interests at the UNSC.

“We firmly support the reforms of the UN Security Council and believe that Kenya will help to increase the voice of African countries at the UN Security Council,” Wang said.

Sources say failure to secure support from powerful states such as China, the US and France project to an embarrassing loss at the UNSC.

“Our lobbying for this position has been chaotic. We are not sure who among the permanent members with veto powers are with us. If we do not change things Djibouti will embarrass us,” an officer at MFA said.

Kenya is also at risk of losing buildings housing foreign missions in 17 countries for lack of ownership documents, key among them being its chancery in London.

The records relating to the missions abroad revealed that the government-owned properties in nine countries do not have original title deeds.

Further, properties in seven countries are documented in foreign languages that have never been interpreted, while the four others are registered in third parties’ names.

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