MPs Reject Ruto's Ambassadorial Nominee

The development came just days after the House team expressed concerns over Githinji's suitability for the role after failing to demonstrate the competencies sought after during the vetting.

MPs Reject Ruto's Ambassadorial Nominee
President William Ruto delivering a public lecture at the Lusophone University in Guinea Bissau on April 6, 2024. /PCS

The Parliamentary Committee on Defence, Intelligence, and Foreign Relations on Tuesday, April 16 rejected the nomination of Charles Githinji Keiru as the Kenyan Consul General to Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The development came just days after the House team expressed concerns over Githinji's suitability for the role after failing to demonstrate the competencies sought after during the vetting.

The report was presented in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon by the Nelson Koech-led committee and will be debated officially by the house on Wednesday, April 17.

“The nominee demonstrated a considerable lack of knowledge of the expected duties of a consul general and the station to which he had been nominated to serve,” read the report in part.

Charles Githinji Keiru appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Defence, Intelligence and Foreign Relations on April 11, 2024. /MWANGI MAINA

“The committee found that the nominee is not suitable to be appointed to serve as a consul general to Goma-DRC on the ground that he does not possess the requisite qualities, abilities, knowledge and experience."

The committee is thus calling for future nominees for the position of consul general to undergo vetting after being nominated by the appointing authority, in this case, President William Ruto.

It also recommended that President Ruto recalls serving consul generals not vetted for vetting and approval by the National Assembly. However, the committee approved all the other 26 nominees for the envoy positions.

During the vetting last week, the committee raised questions regarding Githinji's qualifications that would suit him for the international stage as an envoy.

His presentation of a Form Four certificate and a driving license as credentials during vetting drew the committee's attention, even though a degree or diploma is not mandatory for an ambassadorial role,

The committee expressed concern over his suitability and throughout the session, Githinji was cornered over what they termed as a “lack of ambition.” For instance, Githinji, during the grilling, failed to give the meaning of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and claimed that Malawi bordered the DRC.

He also unsatisfactorily failed to explain the role of a consular general and what his tasks would be if given the green light for the appointment.

The nominee also clashed with the House team over inconsistencies in his net worth, which he claimed to be Ksh19 million only to indicate on his submission documents that it was Ksh9 million.

The committee was also surprised to learn that despite having enrolled for college in Kasarani, Githinji did not complete the same after it emerged that the institution had not been certified by the government.

"It is very disappointing that given an opportunity to come before this committee, you did absolutely nothing, from filling out the documentation to responding to questions from honourable members, and it is becoming extremely difficult to interview you," Koech said.

Githinji, in response, argued that “I’m a believer of learning, once approved by this committee I intend on attending school at the Foreign Affairs Academy and learning more."

The DRC nominee who scored a D- in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) also scored grade E in both Kiswahili and English. He also has no other post-secondary education and the only experience he has is being a petrol station attendant which MPs argued was not an obstacle to the job ahead of him.

He told MPs the college he was attending in Kasarani was closed by the Ministry of Education before he could sit for his exams.

Although having a degree or a diploma is not among the obligatory requirements for an ambassadorial job, one at the very least needs to demonstrate competence and a grasp of issues for the job he has been nominated for.

This includes having a basic knowledge of your yet-to-be workstation and the economic relations or how Kenya benefits from the respective which would be considered by the committee as a demonstration of competence.

Image of a Kenya Embassy building in DRC. /KENYA EMBASSY IN DRC