Fingers crossed as Djibouti and Kenya battle for UNSC seat in New York
MOGADISHU, Somalia - This evening, 193 nations will be voting in New York City to settle a campaign that had attracted the attention of many African residents, which saw both Kenya and Djibouti expose their rivalry, in the battle to clinch United Nations Security Council non-permanent seat.
By Tuesday, both parties were wrapping up their tense campaigns, which had lasted for almost ten months, after the famous African Union vote in Addis Ababa, which saw 37 African countries settle for Kenya, with only 13 votings for Djibouti, a tiny nation in the Horn of Africa.
Despite the outcome, Djibouti has been banking on the good gesture from francophones and Arab nations, insisting that the position taken by AU was "illegal" and "unprecedented", arguing that it is ready for the battle in New York.
Mohamed Siad Doualeh, the Djibouti ambassador to the UN and Canada, recently exuded confidence that his country would overcome Kenya's resilience, adding that, "we are optimistic, our campaigns have been structured and fruitful".
The winner will take over from South Africa for the next two years [2021/22] and voting is expected to start at 8 pm East Africa Time and results will be out two hours later. Both parties wrapped up campaigns on Tuesday.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC] has asked its members to support Djibouti, terming the move as a "spirit of solidarity" with the Horn of Africa nation. It becomes the latest major organization after the Arab League of nations to endorse Djibouti.
"In this connection, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Secretariat wishes to request the support of all member states for the republic of Djibouti's candidacy in a spirit of solidarity and joint Islamic action," read the statement.
And in Nairobi, President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has been the lead campaigner for Kenya, assured partners that the East African nation would tirelessly to boost trade and security across the world, in a series of video conference meetings from State House, Nairobi.
"Trust in us, stand with us, we will ensure no one is left behind," Uhuru told UN member states, in a meeting that also involved Foreign Affairs minister Raychelle Omamo. "A vote for Kenya is a vote for Multilateralism."
His message was reinforced by former political nemesis cum ally Raila Odinga, who is the current African Union High Representative for Infrastructure and Development. On his Twitter account, Odinga endorsed Kenya for the seat.
"Kenya has served the community of nations with dedication and grace; hosting refugees, sending peacekeepers to troubled lands, ensuring regional stability," he said. "Our Athletes are a shared Pride. We seek to continue this tradition of service via a UN seat. May the World stand with Us."
The cutthroat competition comes at the time Kenya is facing a myriad of challenges, including the row with Somalia over the Indian Ocean maritime case. Somalia had publicly endorsed Djibouti for the seat, citing Kenya's "inability to solve the ocean row".
International Court of Justice, which is handling the case, postponed it for the third time, pushing hearing from June 2020 to March 2021. Nairobi has been lobbying for out of court settlement with Somalia, but Mogadishu has previously ruled it out.
The East African nation is also struggling to contain terrorism, with Al-Shabaab waging frequent attacks across the border since 2011. Kenya Defense Forces [KDF] troops are currently in Somalia for peacekeeping missions under the Africa Union umbrella.