Kenya has pledged to consolidate and voice Africa's position in the United Nations Security Council.
Welcoming Kenya’s election to a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the win was a demonstration of the country's growing profile and influence in the community of nations as a steadfast and dependable development partner.
His deputy, William Ruto, said the victory reaffirmed Kenya’s strategic position in the community of nations.
“We will no doubt use this stint at the council to further the Pan-African agenda of peace building, security around the globe and multilateralism,” said Dr Ruto.
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga said Kenya's victory marked one of the brightest points in the country's engagement with the world.
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According to Raila, the victory was also a bold manifestation that with solidarity, Africa, which backed Kenya for the UN seat, can have its way on the global stage.
“We are grateful for the great vote of confidence by the global community. Our challenge now is to work even harder as a nation and Africa’s representative to deliver on the expectations of the continent that backed us and the global community that agreed. I am confident that Kenya shall not disappoint,” he said.
Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Macharia Kamau said Thursday's victory put Kenya on the global spotlight.
“This is a great opportunity and occasion for Kenya to showcase herself as a mature and successful nation enough to take up global challenges,” he said.
“Kenya will take its rightful place among top ranks of nations as a country that has invested a lot in peace and security in the world spanning 40 years,” said the PS.
Kamau admitted that Kenya's two-year tenure comes with its share of pressure and challenges.
Kenya campaigned on a platform of change, promising to push for Africa-sensitive policies and approaches on such issues as climate change, fighting extremism and peace building.
The country was elected to the UN Security Council after defeating Djibouti in a run-off vote. The country replaces South Africa in the non-permanent seat after receiving 129 votes against Djibouti's 62.
Djibouti and Kenya had failed to clinch the two thirds majority (128 votes) in the first round of voting. The contest then headed to the second round of voting on Thursday.
In the first round on Wednesday, Nairobi scored 113 votes against Djibouti’s 78. The rules of the elections demand at least two-thirds of eligible UN member states votes to be declared winner.
On Wednesday, the election that started at 4pm Kenyan time and saw 192 of the 193 member states voting. Only Venezuela was barred from casting its ballot as it is still in arrears for its membership in the UN.
The Security Council is the most powerful organ of the UN, charged with maintaining global peace and security.
Kenya had banked on the African Union endorsement and its own diplomatic networks abroad to bag the seat after intense lobbying spearheaded by Uhuru.