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Kenyan envoys forced to retreat to village life after their missions abroad

26 April 2016, 13:02 Samuel arap Yego

Nairobi - Former envoys and senior diplomatic staff who served in foreign counties want the government to find a way of harnessing their knowledge and vast experience gathered in their previous duties.

The ex- envoys through their umbrella body, The Association of Former Ambassadors, said most of them upon completing their tour duty quietly return home and stay idle, instead of being engaged in nation building activities.

Speaking during an Ambassadorial Leadership Forum organized by the African Institute for Leaders and Leadership (AILL), Denis Afande the chairperson of the former diplomats said the wealth of experience of former envoys should not be let to go to waste.

"Most of us with the experience gathered are in a position to offer solutions to some of the problems bedeviling the country. Some of us are even willing to volunteer, but there is no constructive and structured way of engaging our services," said Afande.

Mr Afande who served as a Kenyan ambassador to the US in the 1980's decried the neglect of his colleagues, noting that some of them have been forced to retreat to village life and serve as board members in local schools.

Read Also: CORD to be in opposition until 2032?

The Association of Former Ambassadors has over 40 ex-envoys and senior diplomatic staff who served the country in foreign missions abroad since independence until 2013.

"Apart from a few lucky former envoys who are serving in the academia and government institutions, some just stay at home and do nothing much. We can be engaged to sustain dialogue and peace efforts in the country and region among other issues," explained Afande.

Esther Tole a former Kenyan Ambassador to Japan echoed Afande's sentiments and noted that the country stands to reap great benefits if it leverages on the global networks and interconnections made by its ex-envoys.

She pointed out that the government should learn from developed countries in the West and Asia, which always harness the experience of all their human resources.

"Frankly speaking, we have been neglected when we can greatly contribute to building our nation. Our experience and the strategic alliances we established in our long service need to be fully tapped like it is done in other countries," said Ms Tole.

During the day-long seminar convened by AILL on Friday, former envoys recounted their experiences at their duty stations abroad and how life has been since they came back home after serving.

Those present included former Ambassadors Dr David Kikaya, Boaz Mbaya, Richard Okwaro, Green Josiah among others. Several scholars in international relations, leadership and diplomacy from the local universities also attended the workshop.

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