Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Defence

Amb. Dr. Monica Juma


Ambassador (Dr) Monica Juma is the Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Kenya. She previously served as the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Ambassador Juma is a distinguished diplomat, with grounded expertise in strategic management, policy making and analysis in international affairs, defense, peace, security and governance. 


Amb (Dr.) Monica Juma has written and published extensively in her areas of specialization. She holds a number of academic qualifications: a Bachelor of Arts Degree and Master of Arts Degree in Government and Public Administration from the University of Nairobi; a Certificate of Refugee Studies and a Doctor of Philosophy in Politics from the University of Oxford. 

Academic Qualifications


Juma is a senior research fellow in the Department of Political Science, at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, an adjunct faculty member at the African Centre for Strategic Studies of the National Defense University, in Washington DC in the United States of America, and offers lectures and engagements of opportunity in many defence and foreign relations establishments across the world. Doctor Monica Juma is married and a mother of two children.

Ambassador (Dr.) Monica Juma has had an impactful career as a cabinet minister, principal secretary, ambassador, lecturer and a researcher. She currently is the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Kenya, a position she has held since January 2020. As the Minister in charge of Defence in Kenya, she is the current Chair of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGCS). 

Amb. Juma was appointed to the Ministry of Defence from the Ministry of Foreign affairs, where she served first as Principal Secretary (2016-2018) and then as Cabinet Secretary (2018-2020). During her tenure Kenya became a demonstrative thought leader and championed numerous agenda that brought like-minded countries and regions together.  She also served as the Chair of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (2018-2020).

Before serving at the helm of Kenya’s diplomacy, Dr. Juma served as Principal Secretary in the security triad of government. In the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government (2014-2015) she championed national security and administrative reforms. Prior to being at the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Dr. Juma was the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Defence (2013-2014) where she was instrumental in strengthening the business process systems within the Ministry, clarifying the defence strategic orientation and bolstering the professional stature of the Kenya Defence Forces.

In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs she led Kenya in championing and convening on critical global agenda such as environment, terrorism, and blue economy to mention a few. She also led efforts in deepening Kenya’s Pan-African and global south engagements. Previously, Dr. Juma was Ambassador Extra-Ordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kenya to Ethiopia and Djibouti, and Permanent Representative of Kenya to the African Union, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and United Nations Commission for Africa (UNECA), (2010-2013).  She forged consensus around complex issues facing the continent and the United Nations at the time, such as the Arab Spring, rise of fundamentalism, terrorism, international migration, political fragility and state formation.

Before joining the top executive in Kenya in 2010, Dr. Juma had developed a depth of experience in research and policy analysis from working for various continental and international think tanks, including the International Peace Academy, SaferAfrica, and the African Institute of South Africa. She also served in the United Nation’s Secretary General’s (UNSG) High Level Panel on Resourcing African Union led, UNSC mandated peacekeeping missions (otherwise known as the Prodi Report 2008), and consulted for many UN Agencies, the African Union and its agencies, in particular NEPAD on matters of security, peace, governance and development.

Amb (Dr.) Juma has strong academic credentials, having served as a lecturer in the Department of Government and Public Administration and Research Director at the Centre for Refugee Studies, both at Moi University, Eldoret. She began her work experience as a Management Analyst in the Department of Personnel Management - Office of the President, where she focused on organizational development within the public service.


Relevant Achievements

While serving in the security triad, between 2013 and 2021, Dr. Monica Juma provided leadership on critical agenda at the regional, continental and global levels, strongly advocating for multilateralism in the context of growing uncertainty caused factors such as climate change, international terrorism, state collapse and resurgence of ethno-centric nationalism.

As the accounting officer at Interior, in 2014-15, Dr. Juma led multi-agency teams that systematically transformed security services in line with our democratization process. These policy reforms transformed the management and execution of our national security across state departments of National Administration, Immigration and Registration of Persons, and National Police Service.

Dr. Monica Juma contributed immensely to the reduction of Kenya’s vulnerability to terrorist attacks, restoring security across the country following heightened terrorist attacks in Kenya in 2012-2016.  She initiated work that led to the development of Kenya’s strategy on Counter Terrorism and Violent Extremism and creation of the multi-agency approach in tackling security challenges, in general, and terrorism in particular. She further reached out to her counterparts from the region and the rest of the world, with a view to enhancing cooperation and collaboration in building secure societies and regions for humanity.

Between 2010 and 2013, as the Permanent Representative to the African Union between 2010 and 2013, she reached out to all Parties and stakeholders in the Sudan conflict and contributed to consensus on pending issues of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). In part, this paved the way for the birthing of South Sudan on 9th July 2011, as the world’s newest nation.

As the Chair of the African Union Peace and Security Council in more than three occasions over the period 2010 to 2013, she reversed global fatigue and complacency through information sharing and consensus building and evolved a shared understanding on how to end the perpetual transition in Somalia. She campaigned for the strengthening of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), mid-wived the hatting of the Kenyan forces into AMISOM; and was critical in the engagement of the AU and the UN on the various missions in Africa, inter alia, the UN missions in Darfur, DRC, and the in Sahel.

She contributed to the debate and took practical steps to strengthen partnerships between the African Union Peace and Security Council and other actors engaged in peace and security, in particular the European Union and the United Nations Security Council. As a consequence of a shared understanding, she became a thought leader in breathing life to the Report of the UNSG High Level Panel on Resourcing AU-UNSC-mandated Peace missions (Prodi report) and initiated discussions around possibilities of using the African union’s accessed contributions to facilitate faster deployment of the African Lead Mission in Mali (AFISMA), a decision adopted by the AU Summit, and later given effect in dealing with the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR).

She led various teams in the development of critical AU policy documents including the AU Peace and Security Architecture, AU Governance Architecture, Women, Peace and security, and the AU Vision 2063, amongst others.








Dr. Monica Juma is a strategic, visionary, innovative and a transformative leader. She is a seasoned public servant with a track record of successful public service, political acumen, commitment and integrity.

She is a distinguished diplomat with diplomatic experience in regional and multilateral relations, international development, security and humanitarian issues.

Dr. Juma has a track-record as a consensus-builder with sterling ability to bring opposing views to reach a shared understanding of issues. A significant success of this was the successful Kenyan bid for the UNSC elective seat; strengthening of the South-South Cooperation and Pan African agenda.

She has a wide range of technical competencies in the security and development domains. This led to the forging of common positions on critical issues, challenges and solutions.

Dr. Juma has demonstrated expertise in building institutions that are fit-for-purpose and an ability to create teams around the vision of those institutions, enabling them to maximize their potential.

She is a stickler of good governance - creating business processes that ensure accountability, transparency and value for money. This has seen her drive institutional development and strengthening in every docket that she has served.

Key Competencies








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