June 24, 2024
History As the EAC Appoints First Female Secretary-General From Kenya

History As the EAC Appoints First Female Secretary-General From Kenya

In a historic move, the East African Community (EAC) has appointed Veronica Mueni Nduva as its first female Secretary-General.

This appointment follows the recall of Dr Peter Mathuki, who had been in the position since 2021.

The decision was made during an extraordinary summit of EAC heads of state on Friday, July 7, at which leaders discussed the regional bloc’s future direction in the face of ongoing challenges.

Nduva, who was nominated by President William Ruto, previously served as Principal Secretary for the State Department of Performance and Delivery Management in the Ministry of Public Service.

The position of Secretary-General has become highly contentious within the East African Community (EAC) over the last decade, as Peter Mathuki steps down.

Intense scrutiny by the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) of the activities and responsibilities of the Secretary-General’s office, combined with the demands of an expanded regional bloc, has revealed significant flaws in the EAC Secretariat’s governance structure.

Veronica Mueni Nduva becomes the EAC’s sixth Secretary-General. Since 2000, five Secretary-Generals have been appointed by their respective heads of state.

The tenures of outgoing Secretary-General Dr Mathuki (Kenya) and his predecessor Liberat Mfumukeko (Burundi) contrast with those of Francis Muthaura (Kenya), the EAC’s first chief executive, and his successors Juma Mwapachu (Tanzania), Amanya Mushega (Uganda), and Dr Richard Sezibera(Rwanda).

The summit also discussed recent changes in Kenya’s foreign service, including Dr Mathuki’s nomination as Kenya’s ambassador to Russia.

This reshuffle of key positions reflects President Ruto’s strategic approach to strengthening Kenya’s global diplomatic presence while ensuring strong leadership within the EAC.

The controversy surrounding Zablon Muruka Mokua’s appointment to the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) was a major topic of discussion at the summit.

Kenya’s High Court blocked Mokua’s appointment after the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) raised concerns about his qualifications.

The heads of state discussed the implications of this legal challenge and potential solutions to ensure the EACJ’s integrity.

The regional bloc is also facing a severe funding crisis, which has hampered many of its initiatives.

The EAC is facing a $40 million (Ksh5.2 billion) shortfall as a result of partner states failing to remit their dues.

Kenya is the only member country that has fully met its financial obligations to the bloc.

This financial strain has resulted in stalled projects and prompted urgent discussions about long-term funding mechanisms for the EAC’s operations.

In her farewell message as Principal Secretary, Nduva expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to serve Kenya.

“To have been accorded the honour and opportunity to do so between 2022-2024 as one of the 51 Principal Secretaries in a country of over 50 million is indeed a chance of one in a million. It has been humbling to serve the great nation of Kenya,” Nduva said.

History As the EAC Appoints First Female Secretary-General From Kenya

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