Karigithu fails to clinch top United Nations maritime job after poll loss

Presidential advisor on maritime and blue economy affairs Dr Nancy Karigithu. [Robert Menza, Standard]

Kenya lost its bid for the coveted position of International Maritime Organisation (IMO) secretary general in elections held in London.

IMO is the United Nations' specialised agency responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships in the world.

On Tuesday, the IMO council voted in favour of Panama’s candidate Mr. Arsenio Velasco in all four rounds of polls, with Kenya’s Nancy Karigithu falling after the second round.

Mrs Karigithu who is the presidential advisor on maritime and blue economy affairs, lost in the second round where she scored five votes.

Velasco who polled 21 votes in the fourth and final round will replace Mr Kitack Lim of Korea whose term ends on December 31.

In a communique from the IMO, Mr Suat Aka from Turkey came second with 11 votes in the final round while Mr Minna Kivimaki of Finland was third with eight votes.

Mr Zhang Xiaojie of China was eliminated in round three after scoring five votes.

Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry of Dominican Republic was the first to be eliminated in round one after he managed three votes.

Ms Karigithu, who represented Africa, got five of the 40 votes in round one and four votes in round two after she was presented to the council by Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary Salim Mvurya.

The Panama candidate clinched 11 votes in round one, 15 in round two, 17 in round three, and 21 votes in the final round when he was declared the winner.

Panama, Turkey, and Finland made it to the final round. Turkish candidate came second in all four rounds scoring 10, 10, 10 and 11 votes.

Finland came third after polling six, six, eight, and eight in the election. China got five votes in round one, round two, and round three but was eliminated in round three.

In the polls, Dominican was eliminated in the first round after it managed only three votes.