Kenya on Friday appointed a special envoy for maritime affairs and the blue economy, signaling renewed attention for an initially overlooked regional official.
Nancy Karigithu, Principal Secretary of the Department of State for Navigation and Maritime Affairs at the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works, will take on the new role which will also develop a policy for the use of resources. Kenya’s maritimes as well as its internal waters. .
The list was announced by Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo in a memo to ministry staff on Friday.
Ms. Karigithu’s mission comes as Kenya and Portugal prepare to co-host a UN ocean conference, due later this year, where experts will meet to discuss protecting the seas during harvesting resources from the waters.
The note also indicated a list of 24 new ambassadors to lead the embassies abroad, as well as seven others to fill in the missions.
Among them is Major General Tai Gituai, who served as the Acting Chairman of the Revitalized Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), the body established to monitor peace in South Sudan.
He will now be Kenya’s permanent representative to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which established the JMEC.
IGAD is a seven-member bloc headquartered in Djibouti and includes Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti as members.
Traditionally, Kenyan Ambassadors to Djibouti were often accredited to IGAD. But in a list released on Friday, Kenya named another diplomat, Salim Salim, as the new ambassador to Djibouti, replacing James Mwangemi who was appointed chief executive of the Kenya Ports Authority.
A source said East Africa that Major General Gituai will also be special envoy for active regional conflicts such as South Sudan.
Kenya has also replaced most key staff at its embassies abroad, including at neighborhood stations.
Ms. Muthoni Gichohi will travel to Beijing to replace Ms. Sarah Serem, and Major General (Rtd) George Owinoh will travel to Kampala to replace Mr. Kiema Kilonzo. Ms. Serem and Mr. Kilonzo resigned in February to join politics.
Mr. Galma Boru will lead the new mission in Indonesia, which was opened in March to expand Kenyan reach in Southeast Asia.
Mrs. Diana Kiambuthi will travel to Rwanda, while Major General (Rtd) Thomas Chepkuto will travel to Mogadishu and Mr. Isaac Njenga will travel to Tanzania.
The Ministry will send Professor Bitange Ndemo, former Principal Secretary of ICT, to Belgium where he will replace Professor Jacob Kaimenyi. Mr. Boniface Mwilu will travel to Qatar to fill the post left vacant following the death of Paddy Ahenda earlier this month. Major General Andrew Ikenye will travel to Abuja to lead the mission left vacant following the death of Dr Wilfred Mage in February.
Other stations to have new leaders include Angola, Austria, Denmark, Egypt, Cuba, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, Pakistan, Oman, Spain and Turkey.
Under Kenyan law, all new diplomats appointed to head missions must be approved by the National Assembly and it was unclear when MPs will question candidates.