Even before the issuing of the Note Verbale No. 508/2023 informing the public that foreign missions can now access all government offices directly without going through Foreign Affairs office, Cabinet Secretary (CS) Alfred Mutua was already unpopular in the halls of his own ministry.
One of his first decrees was to ensure that none of his MFA staff could park in the Harambee Avenue Headquarters parking lot.
He unilaterally declared that the staff vehicles interfered with the visuals and decor of the space.
This rendered staff without parking for a month and many had to pay out of pocket for parking spaces at KICC and the Holy Family Basilica.
Many staff members viewed this as a message of disdain towards them and their needs.
It shocked many when the notice came out, but not his staff members.
In the notice, he referred to his staff as elitist bureaucrats, he gives away the core functions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the office of the Deputy President and to the various government offices.
“The CS does not listen to advise, he never took his time to understand the inner workings of the Ministry, and he talks endlessly in briefings without really taking the time to understand what he is being briefed on.” A senior official in the Ministry said.
The gaff has caused a scramble in the Ministry to try and undo his mistake.
Many feel that they are often cleaning up the endless mess of a politician who does not understand how to conduct diplomacy.
Some staff members feel the CS sells Kenya to the highest bidder.
After the recent visit by US First Lady, Jill Biden, Dr. Mutua instructed staff that the US should now be prioritised as a partner because they offered Kenya money where other countries are offering nothing.
During a meetings with dignitaries, the Minister makes mistakes which display that he is not well informed on matters he deals with.
For example, in a meeting with Secretary General of the African Development Bank, it was apparent that the CS had not read his briefs nor been briefed prior to the meeting and didn’t know even the smallest details including dates and venue of a conference that Kenya was hosting.
There is also a growing resentment towards Dr. Mutua, who is always travelling despite the budget deficits faced by his ministry.
He is currently in Egypt as his staff in Spain and Indonesia have been locked out of their homes and offices due to non-payment.
The ministry offices in 316 Upperhill chambers have no electricity due to non-payment of bills.
For each travel the Minister makes, he requests of up to 7 million KES.
“He is not here for the benefit of the country, but here to enrich himself. Foreign Affairs is a sensitive docket and he is causing harm that will take years to mend,” one officer said.
He has surrounded himself with advisers who have no prior experience in Foreign Affairs.
Some of his advisers, among them Mr. Abdirahman Mohammed Ali, go around the ministry threatening staff members.
Overall, the Ministry staff are demoralised and want the President to reassign Dr. Mutua to a different docket.
They feel that President William Ruto is not well advised by a Minister who is not knowledgeable.
This is why the President is making tone deaf declarations to open up new embassies around the world, while his staff in Spain and Indonesia are out in the street.