Djibouti takes campaigns to New York as battle for UNSC seat against Kenya intensifies
NEW YORK - The battle for United Nations Security Council (UNSC) non-permanent seat for Africa is progressively taking shape, with Kenya and Djibouti embroiled in a fierce rivalry.
United Nations will be voting for representatives in June next year. Winners will stay in office for a period of two years.
Despite efforts to reconcile Kenya and Djibouti, the tiny Horn of Africa nation has vowed to launch campaigns on December 5th in New York, almost a month after Nairobi launching her bid.
Reports from Asmara's Foreign Affairs department indicate that the campaigns will be rolled out 'with the hope that Djibouti will offer alternative leadership'.
The country is campaigning under the banner 'a vote for Djibouti is a vote for Africa’ and “your global partner for peace".
In August, the African Union settled on Kenya as the official representative of the continent. The two countries had failed to reach a consensus, forcing AU to organize elections.
Kenya was endorsed by 37 African countries, with Djibouti managing only 13. Nairobi is facing the polls as an official African representative.
But days after conceding, Djibouti vowed to take the battle to the UN, a move that caught both the African Union and Kenya by surprise.
Djibouti argued that Kenya is unfit for the UNSC seat given her inability to solve the maritime disputes with Somalia. The two neighbors are currently facing each other at the International Court of Justice.
“If elected, Djibouti will relentlessly promote the obligation of all states to uphold international law in the maintenance of peace and security, and advocate for a recommitment to a multilateral, rule-based international order,” Omar had told UN General Assembly in September.
Efforts to prevail upon Djibouti to drop the bid failed to succeed in September when Egyptian leader Abdel Fatah met Uhuru Kenyatta and his Djibouti counterpart Ismael Omar.
Last week, Kenya's Foreign Affairs minister Monica Juma took a swipe at Djibouti over the battle, accusing the country of 'failing to respect initial agreement before AU voting'.Djibouti, Juma said, pledged to respect the outcome of the African Union vote in August after 19 months of unfruitful dialogue with Kenya.
"I am pretty surprised. The reason why we went for a vote was to make a determination on who will be the African candidate in lines with our rules and procedures," she said.
The top diplomat added: "Djibouti and we had agreed that since we had not reached a consensus, we let the AU help us make a determination. It came as a surprise because it was an agreement."
Intensive lobbying is taking shape with Kenya now reaching out to Arab League and European Union for endorsement. In October, Uhuru visited Saudi Arabia.
For Djibouti, the small African country is banking on support from Francophone nations, the Arab League and other interested friends to cement her bid.
Juma is currently in New York where she's also pushing for Kenya's bid. Nairobi is keen to capture the seat due to strategic interests such as the fight against Al-Shabaab militants.