On Thursday the 18th of June as the world slept, world leaders convened virtually to cast votes for the UN Security Council non-permanent membership 2021–20202. Kenyan won. This was after it garnered129 votes against Djibouti’s 62 in the second round of voting at the UNSC headquarters in New York City. Kenya won largely due to its support for refugees from Somalia and South Sudan, as well as to its support to the two countries’ fragile governments. The win came at an opportune time, this is because Nairobi’s latest international bids had largely been unsuccessful. Kenya had lost a bid to host the secretariat of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement to Ghana. She had lost her bid to have one of her own as Chairperson of the AU Commission. It also failed to host the regional offices of the Afrexim Bank. This means that Nairobi can, from January 2021, return to the UN’s most powerful organ after 23 years where it will be part of key decisions on global peace and security.
As a Kenyan and a patriot, my heart was filled with joy and I couldn’t help but smile as I read the news. I did not know what this meant for the country, but my ignorant self was aware that being the UN Security Council, this meant that it was a huge deal or so I thought. But what does this big win mean? How does this major move translate to the life of a Common Mwananchi? Does it trickle down to Wekesa or is it just an icing on the cake? Are there perks that one can ride on or is it another foreign concept one that is of no benefit to the citizens?
The win wasn’t devoid of issues, it later came up that none of the East African countries voted for Kenya a move that left most of us questioning our rapport with our neighbors. Observers said Djibouti’s race against Kenya may jeopardize working relations in regional blocs the two countries belong. According to Dr. Mustafa Ali, “having two entrants from the same region was also a pointer to weak multilateral diplomacy in Africa and a possibility of external influence.”
The fact that two countries from the IGAD region were competing for a non-permanent member seat at the UNSC left us wondering if this was a pointer to deep divisions between countries at the sub-regional bloc~ Dr. Mustafa Y Ali, Chairman of the Horn International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Speaking during a press conference Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Racheal Omamo alluded to the fact that with the new platform, Kenya will articulate the issues that shaped its campaign for the seat. These issues include regional peace, Justice and Human rights, Climate Change, and youth empowerment. She mentioned that the opportunity will allow Kenya to join the world in dealing with issues that are critical for every human being.
“It is essential that Africans are at the table, that our ideas, our decision making, our thought processes visions and are laid on the table for all to see, for all to hear and for all to engage with that is why we were endorsed by the African Union to speak for Africa without hesitation, trepidation and without fear.~Racheal Omamo Cabinet Secretary Foreign Affairs.
The big question is can Kenya and Africa as a whole make its global point or influence as an independent entity without being infiltrated by external power interests?
Mukanda Asha is a bibliophile who is passionate about youth, women, policy, and data and the effect that the four have on each other.