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Quiet diplomacy doesn't work for sacked official

A legal challenge has been filed against the decision to recall Mathuki

The backlash against the East African Community's former Secretary-General Peter Mathuki, who was quietly axed by Kenyan President William Ruto earlier this month after EAC lawmakers moved impeachment motions against him over the alleged misappropriation of US$6 million from the bloc's budget, continues (Dispatches, 12/3/24, To Russia without impeachment).

In a bid to minimise diplomatic embarrassment, Ruto nimbly moved Mathuki after it became clear that the impeachment proceedings against him were moving quickly, announcing that Mathuki, who was picked by Ruto's predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta, would become the new ambassador to Russia as part of a series of new diplomatic appointments.

A letter to Deng Alor Kuol, the South Sudanese chair of the EAC's Council of Ministers, from Kenya's cabinet secretary Peninah Malonza replacing Mathuki with Caroline Mueke, dated 15 March, states that Mathuki 'is now to serve the Republic in a different capacity'.

However, the inquiries by members of the East African Legislative Assembly have continued, and indicate that the EAC's Peace Facility account, designed for funds to be spent on the EAC's defence and security operations in eastern Congo-Kinshasa, had been opened without approval.

Meanwhile, a legal challenge to Ruto's decision to recall Mathuki has been filed at the East African Court of Justice, arguing that due process requires that inquiries into the allegations be completed. For its part, the Pan African Lawyers Union has warned that Ruto's recall could set a precedent for other heads of state to withdraw their people holding transnational posts for political reasons.

Mathuki has pleaded his innocence, commenting in a press statement that 'there has never been any adverse audit reports on his part or the Secretariat' during his tenure and adding that the EAC Council of Ministers 'always gives prior approval on expenditure of funds of the Community'.


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