Governments’ shuttle diplomacies that cost Kenyan tax payers billions

Successive governments have been involved in extensive shuttle diplomacies that have senior ranked government officials criss-cross capitals across the globe all at the expense of Kenyan taxpayers.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is welcomed by Sudanese President Omar Bashir in 2016.

Former President Mwai Kibaki and current President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administrations have been involved in extensive shuttle diplomacies that have senior ranked government officials criss-cross capitals across the globe all at the expense of Kenyan taxpayers.

Here is a look at some of the most notable shuttle diplomacy campaigns.

International Criminal Court Shuttle Diplomacy

Under the Grand Coalition Government, former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka used over Sh200 million on a diplomacy drive meant to transfer cases from the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.

Between 2011-2012, Mr Musyoka was unsuccessfully fighting to have President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto tried at alternative cities.

He toured a number of African and western capitals under President Kibaki’s instructions but has since bitterly fallen out with the duo over politics.

Kalonzo kicked off the first round of the shuttle diplomacy that took him to over 10 countries including Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Gabon, Nigeria, South Africa, Malawi, Libya, Egypt and Zambia in a period of two months.

The intention of the shuttle diplomacy was to win support from individual heads of state, which would culminate in a joint position of the African Union in support of Kenya’s request for deferral of cases at the ICC.

The then Trade Minister also Chirau Mwakwere set off to  Southern African countries of Botswana, Swaziland and Zimbabwe with the same message on a charm offensive seeking support for Kenya’s position.

Amina Mohamed-African Union Commission Chairperson Shuttle Diplomacy

The Jubilee Government under President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto launched a massive diplomatic offensive to have Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed replace South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as the next chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC).

The shuttle diplomacy to sell CS Mohamed's candidature across Africa failed to materialise as the continent's leaders instead chose Chad's top diplomat Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Mahamat won by clinching 38 votes while Amb Mohamed garnered 26 votes after seven rounds of voting during the 28th AU Ordinary Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

President Kenyatta and DP Ruto for a year had been on a whirlwind tour across Africa as they wooed various heads of states and governments as they sought in a spirited shuttle diplomacy campaign aimed at wooing African countries to back Kenya’s bid for the AU chairmanship.

According to Paramount Jets, a private jet hire company, a VIP jet flight that can carry up to 50 passengers costs between Sh1.6 and Sh2.3 million per hour.

Apart from the cost of the jet the delegation is also being paid huge daily allowances which the state meets including accommodation, meals and beverages expenses.

The government is said to have reached out to 51 out of the 53 AU member states.

IAAF World Youth Championships Shuttle Diplomacy

Earlier this week, the Kenyan government said Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed will lead a team of Kenyan parliamentarians on a shuttle diplomacy to implore countries to participate in the 2017 IAAF World Under-18 Championships to be hosted in Nairobi from July 12-16.

Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Chief Executive Officer, Mwangi Muthee on Tuesday said this was a measure which they wanted undertaken in the wake of withdrawals by countries from participating in the age group championships to be hosted in Africa for the first time.

This comes after six major counties, the United States of America, Britain, New Zealand, Canada, Switzerland and Australia withdrew from the championship citing security concerns.

“After an inter ministerial and the Nairobi 2017 steering committee consultative meeting held at the Office of the President today (Tuesday), it was agreed that the Member of Parliaments be in the forefront in assuring countries expected to participate security,” the CEO declared.

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