Tanzania supports Kenya's UN Security Council bid amid Djibouti's pressure

By Abuga Makori in Nairobi , Garowe Online

NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenya's bid to represent Africa at United Nations [UN] Security Council received a major boost on Wednesday with Tanzania endorsing her bid.

The East Africa powerhouse has intensified campaigns in recent weeks, with Foreign Affairs minister Monica Juma pitching tent in New York.

Five non-permanent representatives for 2021-22 will be picked in June 2020 during the UN General Assembly. Kenya is competing with Djibouti.

Palamagamba Kabudi, Tanzania's foreign affairs minister, on Wednesday, said President John Magufuli has faith in Kenya for the seat.

“I came to Nairobi as a special envoy to speak to President Kenyatta on our support to Kenya’s candidature for the United Nations Security Council non-permanent seat bid,” he said.

The minister represented Magufuli during the launching of the Building Bridges Initiative report, which was a climax of President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga's unity deal.

Kenya, Kabudi added, "is competent to handle challenges African nations face in terms of security, governance and economic well being".

Interestingly, the endorsement comes a few months after the two nations solved wrangles that almost threatened to break unity and trade ties.

Djibouti is keen to pull a surprise against Kenya in New York. On December 5th, the Horn of Africa nation shall launch campaigns in New York.

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,” Ismael 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, had 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 visited New York in November where she pushed for Kenya's bid. Nairobi is keen to capture the seat due to strategic interests such as the fight against Al-Shabaab militants.


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