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Career Diplomat Finds that Good Papers Aren’t Enough For a Job

While she has experience and expertise in global affairs and development initiatives, politics played a major role in her aborted appointment

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Kenya has replaced Caroline Mueke, the nominee for East African Community (EAC) Secretary-General, two days before her planned swearing-in.

Instead, the Kenya government named Veronica Mueni Nduva as the regional bloc’s next secretary-general ahead of an extraordinary meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers on Tuesday 16 April.

Ms Nduva is the current Principal Secretary in the Department of Performance and Delivery Management in the Ministry of Public Service and hails from Machakos County. Mueke, who was nominated in March, was born in Nairobi but her parents are from Kitui County.

The nomination of Caroline Mueke as the next Secretary General of the East African Community by the Summit of the Heads of States had signified a pivotal moment in her illustrious career dedicated to international relations and development. Ms Mueke was to succeed Peter Mathuki, who is taking on the role of Kenya’s Ambassador to Russia.

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Born and raised in Nairobi in 1975, Caroline Mwende Mueke’s has a wealth of experience and expertise in global affairs and development initiatives. Her academic journey reflects a deep commitment to multilateral cooperation, holding a Bachelor’s degree in international relations from the United States International University and a Master’s in public administration and policy from New York University.

Currently pursuing a PhD in Public Administration at the University of South Africa, Mueke exemplifies a lifelong dedication to academic and professional growth. With over 25 years of experience in development planning, peacebuilding, and policy advisory across various regions,

After Francis Muthaura (1996–2001) and Peter Mathuki (2021–2024), would have been Mueke will be the third Kenyan to occupy the position, a status that will now be enjoyed by Veronica Mueni Nduva. This transition marks a significant milestone in East African regional governance and leadership.

Ms Mueke had served as an international civil servant within the United Nations in countries such as South Sudan, South Africa, Georgia, the Republic of North Macedonia, the United States, and Kenya. Her instrumental role as a senior political affairs officer and special adviser in the UN Mission in South Sudan underscores her expertise in strategic development planning and conflict resolution, notably contributing to the implementation of peace agreements in complex environments.

Ms Mueke’s impactful contributions extend beyond her professional roles, showcasing a deep-rooted commitment to fostering knowledge sharing, empowering young minds, and advocating for quality education. As a member of renowned professional organizations like the African Association of Public Administration and Management (AAPAM) and its Kenyan Chapter (KAPAM), Ms Mueke actively champions inclusivity and excellence within the development sector.

Global Leadership

She says leadership philosophy embodies the principles of servant leadership, emphasizing collaboration, consensus building, and inspiring others to work towards shared goals. Alongside her extensive professional engagements, Ms Mueke finds joy in teaching students about the Africa Union and the Africa Peace and Security Architecture, demonstrating her dedication to nurturing the next generation of global leaders.

Fluent in English, Kiswahili, and Kamba, her mother tongue, Ms Mueke seamlessly bridges diverse cultures and perspectives, embodying a holistic approach to global leadership. Outside her professional commitments, she finds solace in traveling, cherishing time with family, and delving into historical literature and autobiographies, reflecting her passion for continuous learning and personal growth.

Ms Mueke Mueke took the about-turn in stride. “I was deeply honoured to receive the initial nomination for the position of Secretary General to serve the people of the East African Community,” she said. “I thank His Excellency the President of Kenya for this nomination.”

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Steve Wambugu is a journalist based in Nairobi.
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