House alarmed by ‘missions of shame’

Mercy Mwai @wangumarci

Members of Parliament have expressed shock and disappointment over the deplorable conditions of nine Kenyan diplomatic missions.

In a report tabled in the House, the MPs claimed some embassies have leaking roofs, dilapidated offices while others are using outdated vehicles that are unfit  for diplomatic use.

They cited missions in the Republic of Korea, China, Japan, Switzerland (Geneva), Austria (Vienna), Russia (Moscow), USA and Canada as some of the affected.

The Defence and Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Katoo ole Metito, claimed the missions are underfunded, ill-equipped and lack critical facilities such as safes and cabinets for safe custody of sensitive documents.

It recommended for more financial resources and upgrade of facilities to positively project and protect Kenya’s image.

“The missions incur losses in their budgetary allocation from the Foreign Affairs ministry due to variance of exchange rates of Central Bank of Kenya and Swiss banks,” read part of the report.

On the Kenyan embassy in Washington,USA, the committee said the building has deteriorated and recommended the replacement of wooden windows with modern aluminum, repair of the leaking roof, gutters and water pipes. The legislators said office equipment in South Korea, China and Japan embassies is outdated.

In addition, the committee said there is a serious shortage of staff in all the three missions visited as all recalled staff have not been replaced and available staff are overworked.

The committee regretted that the mission in UN, Geneva, has been experiencing delay in payment of staff salaries and other bills because of delayed remittance by the Treasury.

“It is important that the missions are facilities with adequate resources. There are insufficient funds for transport and subsistence in all the embassies visited,” the report read in part.

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