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Kenya leapfrogs Djibouti to secure UN Security Council non-permanent seat


NEW YORK |Kenya pulled last-minute magic on Thursday to bag a slot at United Nations Security Council, in a contest that needed the second round of voting by to be settled, after Djibouti's hard-fought battle in the first round.

On Wednesday, Kenya slightly edged out the tiny Horn of Africa nation having scooped 113 votes but failed to garner the requisite two-thirds, forcing another round of voting. Djibouti had attained a whopping 78 votes in the first round.

But on Thursday, Nairobi managed to sail through having garnered 129 votes of the required 128, thus becoming Africa's representative to the powerful UNSC for the third time in history. Djibouti managed 62, and will now have to wait until 2022.

The East Africa nation will seat in the powerful organ for the 2021/22 period and takes over from the Republic of South Africa. There were concerns that the race would have gone down to the wire, forcing the two nations to share spoils.

While accepting the victory, Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta termed the win as "a demonstration of the country's growing profile and influence in the community of nations as a steadfast and dependable development partner' in a statement posted by State House, Nairobi.

Uhuru added the statement, thanked Kenya's competitor in the election, the Republic of Djibouti for being a worthwhile opponent and the African Union for the endorsement as the continent's flag bearer in the contest.

Kenya added, will endeavor to consolidate and voice Africa's position in the Security Council, and will advance its 10-point agenda as outlined during the campaign period.

Similar sentiments were echoed by chief opposition leader Raila Odinga, the African Union Infrastructural Development envoy, who said the victory manifests the country's influence within the next region and the global stage.

"Kenya’s election to the U.N Security Council this evening marks one of the brightest points of our engagement with the world. It is also a bold manifestation that with solidarity, Africa, which backed Kenya, can have its way on the global stage," he said in a tweet.

Kenya's mission to the UN said: " We wish to express our profound gratitude and appreciation for your valuable support for our Candidature for the Non-Permanent seat to the UNSC for the term 2021-2022."

Ismail Omar Guelleh, the president of the Republic of Djibouti, congratulated Kenya for the victory, adding that he's convinced the East Africa nation will bring valuable contributions to the debates during its tenure.

"We extend our congratulations to Kenya as the newest representative of our region at the UNSC. I am convinced they will bring valuable contributions to the debates during their tenure in the Security Council. My congratulations to H.E Uhuru Kenyatta and the Kenyan nation," he said.

The Red Sea nation got formidable support from francophone nations and the Arab League after refusing to accept the decision by the African Union to endorse Kenya. Both nations intensified their campaigns for the past 10 months prior to Wednesday's polls.

Kenya takes over the seat amid myriad challenges among the Al-Shabaab menace in East Africa and the current Indian Ocean maritime dispute which has seen Nairobi and Mogadishu battle at the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

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