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Bated breath as Kenya fights for UN Security Council seat

By Betty Njeru | June 17th 2020

In what looks like a tough race to separate wheat from the chaff, Kenya will be battling out Djibouti today for a United Nations Security Council seat.

The UN General Assembly will elect five new members of the Security Council for  2021 and 2022, during the 74th session at UN headquarters in New York today.

The seat is one of the five vacant slots reserved for non-permanent members.

Kenya is pitted against Djibouti for the African group seat currently held by South Africa.

Arguing Kenya’s case, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo said Kenya deserves the seat because of its wealth of experience.

The CS detailed Kenya’s willingness to welcome refugees from Somalia and South Sudan, and her support to the two countries’ fragile governments.

Omamo: “In Africa, Kenya is an anchor state and guarantor of regional peace and security. Kenya made immense contributions in the process leading to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement also known as the “Naivasha Agreement” in 2005 between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. It also played a key role in the Somali peace process and continues to support South Sudan and Somalia in their peace and state-building efforts.”

Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau also arguing Kenya’s bid said Nairobi is keen on the seat to make contributions to global peace and security.

“We seek to achieve peace and security through the cultivation of a climate of trust, transparency and synergy of all actors,” he said in an appeal to the member states for support.

Djibouti, on the other hand, notes its strategic location and unusual role as a defence base for diverse countries including France, the United States, China and Japan.

Kenya’s bid follows a resounding endorsement by the African Union (AU) in August 2019. The seat will become vacant in 2021.

The vote

Each new Security Council member will need to win two-thirds of the votes cast.

This means at least 128 of 193 votes, assuming all nations vote.

The General Assembly will also elect its president for the 2020-21 session.

Kenya has served at the council twice, 1973-1974 and 1997-1998, while Djibouti has only served once, 1993-1994.

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