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You Are Too Old, MPs Tell Uhuru's Ambassadorial Nominees, Challenge Them to Reject Jobs


Six ambassadorial nominees had a hard time defending themselves before a parliamentary committee over old age.

The six appeared before the National Assembly’s Defense and Foreign Relations Committee last week for vetting following their nomination to various diplomatic positions by President Kenyatta.

Five of the six nominees are aged over 60 years while one is 49 years old. The 49-year-old is the nominee for Kenya’s permanent representative to the United States in New York Martin Kimani, the former co-secretary of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce.

Those aged 60 and above include former Kenya Navy commander Ngewa Mukala who has been picked as Kenya’s ambassador to Khartoum, Sudan, Jean Kimani (UN-Habitat), Benson Ogutu (Moscow, Russia), Catherine Mwangi (Pretoria, South Africa), and Samuel Nandwa (Juba, South Sudan).

Some members of the committee felt the nominees are ‘too old’ and challenged them to decline the nominations in favor of younger persons.

“You are 60 years old. There are people who have completed school and are looking for jobs. What makes you think you are suitable for this appointment yet there are young people who want jobs. Don’t you think you should decline this nomination in favor of a younger person?” Central Imenti MP Moses Kirima asked one of the nominees.

Mukala, who has been nominated as Kenya’s ambassador to Sudan, responded by saying that it would be a lack of discipline to reject an appointment by the President.

“It is true I’m 60. But I’m retired not tired. Being in the military, it is indiscipline to say no when the Head of State gives you an appointment. It is the highest level of indiscipline and I’m not going to do it,” said Mukala.

Others cited their vast experiences as the reason why they deserve the appointment while others had no defense at all.

“In 2013, I was posted as High commissioner to Botswana and later posted to the Europe and Commonwealth directorate. I retired last year and started a consultancy before I was nominated,” said Jean Kimani.

Ambassador Ogutu said: “Experience cannot be gained when young. It can only be gained when old. I believe the experience I have will be key in advancing the country’s interests in Russia.”