Amb. Martin Kimani: The Kenyan Envoy Getting Global Praise For Telling Off Russian President Vladimir Putin

Written by on 23 February 2022

Amid the ongoing tension between Ukraine and Russia, one Kenyan has been cast into the spotlight for boldly telling off Russian President Vladimir Putin over his country’s advancement into Ukraine.

Bold and poised, Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dr. Martin Kimani on Tuesday warned the Russian leader that his failure to handle matters diplomatically was unjustifiable and a sure recipe for disaster.

“This action and announcement breaches the territorial integrity of Ukraine, we do not deny that there may be serious security concerns in these regions but they cannot justify today’s recognition of these regions as independent states,” said Kimani during the UN Security Council emergency meeting.

“Not when there are multiple diplomatic tracts available and underway that have the ability to offer peaceful solutions,” he added, further invoking Kenya’s history as a former British colony in his speech that has since gone viral.

Since December 2020, Dr. Kimani has been a Permanent Representative of the Kenyan Mission to the United Nations. 

He had served as the National Counter-Terrorism Centre Director from 2015 until his appointment. 

The ambassador was also the Secretary for Strategic Initiatives in President Kenyatta’s office from December 2018.

Kimani’s CV also boasts of past stints at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi where he was the country’s Permanent Representative, as well as the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) between December 2012 and September 2015.

The envoy has also worked in Ethiopia as a Director at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s (IGAD) Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism from 2011 to 2012.

Additionally, he was part of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Taskforce and Steering Committee  between 2018 and 2020, serving as Joint Secretary.

Kimani holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire, United States (1996) as well as Master’s and Doctorate degrees in War Studies from King’s College London, United Kingdom, awarded in 2003 and 2010 respectively.

In 2020, the ambassador hit the headlines during the vetting stage of the nominees for his current role. 

Kimani had listed President Uhuru Kenyatta as a referee on his resume, something that did not go down well with a section of legislators.

The envoy, according to the panelists, was trying to ​​intimidate the National Assembly Defence and Foreign Relations Committee members in charge of the exercise.

“Referees are those people who know your character. This is what I was thinking when I included him,” he said in his defense then.

“Now, thinking that my referee is actually the appointing authority, I realize I made a mistake. I would be happy to add one more name.”

When further pressed on his wealth declaration then (Ksh.58 million) which the committee thought was an understatement for a top UN employee, Dr. Kimani said he had invested his finances in schooling.

“I have invested much of my income on education and even foregone many years of pay to fund my Masters and PhD studies. I might even end up with less income after I’m done with the United Nations and go back to school,” said Kimani at the time.

A bit unsatisfied, the committee further insinuated that the envoy had been extravagant, to which – in his typical fashion – he responded that he would be happy to receive ‘a few lessons’ on saving culture’.

But now, with his speech, he may have silenced his critics and earned new fans and supporters in the global arena.

Reader's opinions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Current track