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The missing man in Arusha

Pending a court challenge, axed Secretary-General Mathuki has not resigned from the EAC despite being absent from his post since his recall

Confusion reigns over the status of Peter Mathuki the outgoing Secretary-General of the East African Community. Last month, Mathuki was abruptly recalled by Kenyan President William Ruto, and announced as Kenya's next ambassador to Russia, after EAC lawmakers moved impeachment motions against him over the alleged misappropriation of US$6 million from the bloc's budget. Mathuki has denied any wrongdoing.

A letter from the Kenyan government to the EAC's Council of Ministers on 15 March, stated that Mathuki 'is now to serve the Republic in a different capacity'.

However, the EAC's internal procedures state that a member government wanting to withdraw a senior staff member must give six months' notice. Since Ruto is keen to post Mathuki in the coming weeks that would require other EAC members to agree to waive the notice period. A court challenge which questions the legality of Mathuki's recall is also pending at the EAC's court.

Mathuki was due to be vetted for his Russian posting by the Kenyan parliament on 8 April, a process that was expected to be a fait accompli.

In the meantime, Mathuki has not resigned from the EAC and so officially remains in post despite being absent from Arusha since his recall, and the EAC has been in limbo for a month. South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit has called an EAC leaders' summit for 15 April that is set to formally end Mathuki's three-year tenure and replace him with United Nations official Caroline Mwende Mueke (Dispatches 20/3/24, Quiet diplomacy doesn't work for sacked official).

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