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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 March, 2005, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
Cash-short Kenya recalls envoys
Kenya's former president, Daniel arap Moi
Foreign mission staff went without pay for months under Moi
Kenya has recalled 70 diplomats from its embassies abroad because it is short of cash.

Foreign Minister Ali Mwakwere said it was not an unusual move and none of the staff were ambassadors.

It is hoped this saving of some $4.1m will cover debts including unpaid rents and salaries.

"It has always happened, but was never made public," Mr Mwakwere, a diplomat under former President Daniel arap Moi told Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper.

"It was not uncommon for a mission to go for three or four months without a salary."


Kenya has some 36 embassies overseas. According to The Nation, its missions in Israel, Japan and Switzerland have been hardest hit by the cuts.

We do not need a bloated, ineffectual and unwarranted staff in our missions
Foreign Minister Ali Mwakwere

The minister said the staff had been recalled because their "stay abroad was not necessary" and they might be redeployed to foreign missions soon to be opened.

Unlike the previous administration, Mr Mwakwere said he wanted Kenyans to know "how much is being spent on these missions".

Responding to accusations that foreign missions often had "unwarranted" staff, he said diplomatic perks were being reviewed, The Nation reports.

"We need to ensure we have a lean and efficient diplomatic corp fully serving our interests."

The Narc government came to power over two years ago promising to tackle corruption, but the administration has come under fire from international donors for not doing enough.


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