Mutua should apply his experience in new job

Thursday, October 6th, 2022 07:40 | By
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua speaks during a press conference in which he announced that he had joined Kenya Kwanza. PHOTO/NJENGA KUNGU
CS Foreign Affairs nominee Alfred Mutua speaks during a past press conference PHOTO/Njenga Kungu

Forget the fact that Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary nominee Alfred Mutua has basically lived a charmed life so far. Destiny seems to favour him wherever he goes. It is interesting the way he jumped ship during the tail end of the last administration, into the current regime, and reaped huge returns.

But I will leave the political analysis to those who have studied the science.

Now, the nomination of Mutua as the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary (CS) was apt. I do not find any other suitable person who can fit the bill like Mutua does among those seen as the front runners. His background as a roving international writer and subsequent recruitment as the government spokesperson in then-President Mwai Kibaki’s administration gave him an edge and a very strong foundation on which to launch his new career.

Mutua’s dalliance with movie making and his work as a public relations practitioner will come in handy as he seeks to create a positive impression of Kenya’s possibilities in the multi-billion dollar global arts industry.

He will be able to position the country as the go-to destination for movie shooting in the continent. We also have the requisite talent for this purpose.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is an anchor for other ministries that involve both international relations and affairs, especially tourism and sports. In addition, the proposal to create a Ministry of Diaspora Affairs will require the guidance of the MFA so that the two foreign-related ministries are reading from the same script and avoid turf wars and duplication of responsibilities.

Mutua should not shy away from experimenting and exerting his adventurous nature in foreign relations. Of course, there are limits to what one can do in the diplomatic realm due to the rules of international decorum and etiquette. But he should not fear showing leadership in areas that we have comparative advantage, both at regional and international levels.

Luckily, Mutua has courage and is not afraid to fly where the eagles dare. But for him to succeed, he needs a lot of cooperation from his colleagues in government. We cannot have loose cannons distorting the country’s foreign policy, unnecessarily embarrassing the government and necessitating needless apologies that erode our credibility. Any foreign pronouncements on sensitive foreign relations and critical matters of governance in general should be passed through the MFA for checking on language and content.

Anyway, Ruto’s Cabinet includes hits and misses. But it shows that contrary to widespread fears, he is not beholden or hostage to sectarian interests.


Generally, Kenyans know Uganda President Yoweri President is a bully. He does not shy away from using his clout as a big brother in the region, owing to his revolutionary credentials. Indeed, no East African president can take on the battle-hardened former guerilla in matters of combat.

But I refuse to be intimidated by the recent outburst of his son and heir-apparent, General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who on Monday tweeted some pretty strange remarks insinuating that he can overrun Kenya and capture Nairobi in a couple of weeks.

The Uganda army commander derided Kenya’s democratic credentials and praised leadership through strong-arm tactics.

Well, there were two levels of reactions. On one side was our world-renowned Tweeter brigade which shot fast and furious from the hip. On the other side was the measured intellectual arguments and analysis, whose main folly was taking Muhoozi’s remarks seriously. Remember the Migingo island saga?

As our Judiciary would say, it was all hot air and a red herring aimed at diverting attention in Uganda from some internal tension. Lest they forget, Muhoozi could also have been reminding the new administration in Kenya who the regional prefect is.

— The writer is a PhD student in international relations

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