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Djibouti spoils Kenya's early party as UNSC elections go to second round

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenya will have to wait for the second round to of elections on Thursday [today] to cement its grip as the non-permanent representative to the United Nations Security Council [UNSC] after a surprise stiff competition from Djibouti.

On Wednesday, Kenya scooped 113 votes to Djibouti's 78 and could not meet the threshold for automatic confirmation, forcing the organizers to wait for the second round, in which the winner will be required to get a simple majority.

In the first round, Nairobi required 128 votes to cruise, but Djibouti's spirited campaign overwhelmed it, falling short of 15 votes to get the two-thirds for confirmation as the winner in the first round of the polls.

The results were announced around 10 pm local time in Kenya and celebrations had temporarily seized social media platforms until the issue of two-thirds was first communicated. The local media had also erroneously announced Kenya's supposed victory.

If the two countries maintain their support base until the second round of voting, then it's quite certain that Kenya will be the replacement for the Republic of South Africa in the UNSC, and would serve for 2021/22 period.

Earlier, the two nations had intensified their campaigns before voting, taking every chance to convince their partners using manifestos they had outlined. Most campaigns were also done on social media or through virtual conferences.

Ismael Omar Guelleh, the Djibouti president, highlighted a number of achievements by the country while pushing for its candidature, citing progressive commitment to help Somalia establish a functional state as one of the major milestones for peacebuilding in the Horn of Africa.

"We have been supporting peace initiatives across the region including in Somalia. We helped them get recognition from the United Nations. It's just only on Sunday we initiated another peace process between Somalia and Somaliland," he said, adding that: "Djibouti also hosts several refugees and people seeking asylum. They are all entitled to rights and privileges.

A similar campaign had been waged by President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, who insisted that Kenya's record in supporting security interventions and integration was unparalleled to any nation within East Africa. He called for support from all voting nations.

"Trust in us, stand with us, we will ensure no one is left behind," Uhuru told UN members states on video conference. "A vote for Kenya is a vote for Multilateralism."

“The endorsement of Kenya as the African Union candidate for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council is a high calling which we accept with gratitude and a deep sense of purpose. A vote for Kenya is a vote for global solidarity," added Raychelle Omamo, the foreign affairs minister.

Evans Lagat, an advocate of the High Court in Nairobi, says that Kenya will manage to sail through but added that the country should reevaluate its International relations-following stiff competition from Djibouti.

"Kenya will certainly win but this is a lesson in diplomacy that Kenya must appreciate. That a nondescript country is giving us a run for our money is not acceptable," Lagat said in a tweet, in reference to the small margin in Wednesday's vote.

Nairobi has struggled to stamp its authority in East and the Horn of Africa given frequent terrorist attacks and weak relations with its neighbors, with Somalia and Tanzania being President Uhuru Kenyatta's latest headache.

While Kenya is tussling with Somalia over the Indian Ocean maritime dispute, the country has also recently been engulfed in a diplomatic spat with Tanzania. The fallout was evident when Nairobi restricted movements along its borders with Tanzania due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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