Why Kenya endorsed CS Monica Juma for Commonwealth job

Amb. Dr. Monica Juma, Kenya's candidate for the Commonwealth Secretary General's position.[Courtesy]

Kenya has maintained Defence CS Dr Monica Juma remains the top-notch candidate to steer the Commonwealth to the next level.

A communique from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nairobi said Juma is the right candidate to move the organisation towards realisation of its shared aspirations of development, democracy and peace.

"As we anticipate the Kigali Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting where the next Secretary-General will be appointed, as President Uhuru Kenyatta assured, Kenya firmly stands with Dr. Juma and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will execute this commitment,” read part of the communique signed by CS Raychelle Omamo.

Omamo said her Defence counterpart will consolidate the good foundation laid by her predecessors and tap on the immense successes so far to ensure that the organisation thrives.

“Her leadership will deliver consensus, which is the mantra of the Commonwealth decision making processes, secure strong commitments within the membership on propagation of our core values and principles and intensify connections through new innovative partnerships to promote sustainable development and shared prosperity,” she said.

She added, “As a Secretary-General, Dr. Juma intends to galvanise collective action in addressing key challenges facing member states while anticipating adversities and taking action to mitigate the impact.”

She said Kenya has been a steadfast member of the Commonwealth since the time of independence in 1963.

The Commonwealth is a family of nations forged by shared principles and objectives, and by which we define the future we collectively seek as stipulated in the Commonwealth Charter. It influences and shapes our position on global affairs and creates a forum for our country to play a significant role within the international community.

The Commonwealth has been a dependable partner to Kenya and has supported its economic development, education, sustainable use of ocean resources, and promotion of democracy, human rights and rule of law in line with the shared values of the organisation.

Omamo said Kenya has also made immense contributions to the Commonwealth leveraging its strong credentials in the oceans agenda and the sustainable blue economy where it is championing the Sustainable Blue Economy Action Group within the Commonwealth and is also a member of the Ocean Alliance and Mangrove Ecosystems Livelihoods Action Groups.

“In addition to this, Kenya is a member of the Physical, Digital and Regulatory Connectivity Clusters of the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda,” she said.

The CS said Kenya has also made important contributions to the advancement of gender equality through the Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting.

She explained how Kenya has demonstrated commitment to strengthening sports through participation in the Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting.

 “Against a background of a fair blend of myriad challenges facing member states and many opportunities that match its diversity, the Commonwealth is at a pivotal moment. In order to further spur its influence globally, the Commonwealth must strengthen its capacity to pursue the collective goals for shared progress and prosperity for member states and the entire humanity,” Omamo said in the communique.

She added the desired objective places a premium on the leadership of the Secretariat, the organisation’s management arm tasked with delivery of the aims of the Commonwealth.

Omamo also noted as the organisation aspires to have a greater impact beyond the common interests of the member states, it is imperative to tap into the opportunity for strategic and visionary leadership at the helm of its Secretariat.

 “The next Secretary-General will be responsible for guiding the Secretariat and indeed the Commonwealth through difficult times. The ravaging impacts of COVID-19 on human life and on economies portends clear challenges beyond the current health crisis,” she said.

Omamo argued the COVID-19 vaccine deficit, debt restructuring and the pervasive dangers from climate change are glaring priorities for the team leader at Marlborough House, Pall Mall.

As a result, the CS said the first port of call for an effective Secretariat to address these challenges, must begin with the election of a competent and proven consensus-builder as the 7th Secretary-General.

 “Informed by Kenya’s commitment to the Commonwealth and desirous to contribute to its advancement, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta has nominated Amb Dr. Monica Juma, Cabinet Secretary for Defence for the post of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth,” she said.

According to her, Juma is a steadfast compatriot and predecessor at the Foreign Affairs docket during which she chaired and was instrumental to the successes of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group. She holds unparalleled credentials as a diplomat of vast experience, an administrator of peace and security at the regional and international levels, a crafter of foreign policy and an exemplar of the Commonwealth values.

“In her, the Commonwealth will have a formidable consensus-builder with expertise in global affairs,” she said.