Kenya’s foreign minister reassigned days after touchy comment on country’s police mission in Haiti

6 Oct 2023

Prime Minister of Haiti Ariel Henry, left, greets Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Alfred Nganga Mutua, right, before United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses diplomats during a meeting on the security situation in Haiti in New York on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. (Bing Guan/Pool Photo via AP)

Kenya’s foreign affairs minister was moved to the tourism post Wednesday as part of a Cabinet reshuffle just days after the official said the country’s police in the Kenya-led Haiti peacekeeping mission would be deployed “within a short time.”

Alfred Mutua’s statement came shortly after the U.N Security Council approved the force Monday and was issued before President William Ruto’s statement. The president did not mention when the deployment would take place.

As foreign minister, Mutua was vocal about the Haiti mission, giving prospective deployment times and preparations that are underway. His counterpart in the interior security ministry, where policing issues fall, has been quiet about the deployment.

Ruto reassaigned Mutua to the tourism ministry and handed the foreign affairs post to politician Musalia Mudavadi. No changes were made in the defense and interior security ministries, which are critical in the Haiti mission.

Another notable change is the reassigning of the trade and investment minister Moses Kuria, who was conspicuously missing when the president signed trade deals on the sidelines of the the recently concluded U.N General Assembly meeting. Kuria will now serve in the public service docket.

The president has recently cracked down on government spending and foreign travel by officials.

Ruto on Tuesday directed ministries to cut their spending by 10% for the current fiscal year, citing the need to “exercise prudence in resource utilization.”

A day earlier, a memo from the president’s chief of staff barred nonessential travel by Cabinet ministers and said no more than three people can accompany a minister on authorized trips.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua had said in August that it was hard to hold Cabinet meetings because some ministers were constantly out of the country.