It’s embarrassing that Kenya’s Ambassador to the United States, Mr Robinson Githae, has had to come out and personally defend his staff against allegations of petty corruption.
That follows claims that some of the staff at the Washington embassy have been engaging in shady deals in the issuance of national identity cards to their compatriots.
This is the lowest people serving their country in a foreign mission could ever sink.
It’s understandable, therefore, that Mr Githae felt the need to come out strongly and not only dismiss the graft claims, but also allege that the reports were meant to damage the embassy’s reputation.
He particularly took issue with social media reports that it overcharges Kenyans seeking national IDs.
However, he did not explain why anyone would want to soil the embassy’s image.
But as the old saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. However, from the explanation given by the ambassador, it is evident that there could have been a breakdown in communication. Perhaps the extra charges being complained about are necessary to meet some logistical challenges but were not explained in advance to would-be applicants. True, there is nothing as frustrating as being suddenly confronted with costs that one did not expect.
Our foreign missions have a vital role of projecting the country’s image and promoting national interests, including boosting trade ties and attracting investments.
They should not be distracted by minor administrative hiccups such as a shortage of staff. This bad publicity comes not long after a parliamentary committee visited Kenya’s missions and found many of them in deplorable condition.
The Washington embassy, a major station, was again fingered as one of the eyesores that give our country a pretty horrible image.
The diplomats must up their game to justify their postings.