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UNSC SEAT

Kenya takes her place on the global stage

How country uses this opportunity will dictate how the world treats her in future.

In Summary
  • The country could use this opportunity to deal with the maritime dispute with Somalia.
  • Unlike her neighbour, Kenya has preferred negotiations to taking the issue to the International Court of Justice
If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.
American Senator Michael Enzi

Once upon a time, a river carried down in its stream two pots, one made of earthenware and the other of brass. The Earthen Pot said to the Brass Pot, “Pray keep at a distance and do not come near me, for if you touch me ever so slightly, I shall be broken in pieces, and besides, I by no means wish to come near you.”

The fable is used to illustrate that equals make the best friends. This is because they are able to make decisions at the same level and understand each other.

Senior American Senator Michael Enzi of Wyoming has a famous quote that has been used often, even by local politicians. He once said, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

 

After what appeared to be a setback last Wednesday, Kenya rose to the occasion lobbying 16 more countries to support its bid at the UN Security Council on Thursday. And Kenya managed to beat Djibouti after getting 129 votes against it regional neighbour’s 62 votes, thus, securing the seat reserved for Africa. This is a significant fete and we must congratulate all those who worked to ensure that it happened.

Going into the vote, Kenya had secured the endorsement of the African Union last year but Djibouti contested. Kenya did not take this endorsement on a silver platter and went out to convince the world why it was the right candidate for the seat.

As President Uhuru Kenyatta said after the results, Kenya’s win is a demonstration of the country’s growing profile and influence in the community of nations as a steadfast and dependable development partner.

Some have been asking what Kenya stands to gain by sitting in the UNSC. One key thing to consider is the power and prestige that comes with the role played by UNSC members in the running of global affairs.

The Security Council’s primary responsibility is international peace and security. The council has 15 members—five of them permanent—each of which has one vote. Only the five have veto powers. Kenya is now among the other 10.

The country is also seeking to build appropriate linkages between UN and African bodies to help solve regional conflicts, or prevent them. While the third point is to promote ideas that create useful environment for a just society.

The council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to peace or an act of aggression. In some cases, the Security Council can impose sanctions or even authorise the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Kenya could also use the new opportunity to deal with the maritime dispute with Somalia. Unlike her neighbour, Kenya has preferred negotiations to having the matter heard at the International Court of Justice.

 

But is this all for Kenya? No. Kenya already outlined a 10-point agenda that it will be advancing on behalf of the African continent to ensure that Africa’s position in the Security Council is consolidated.

Kenya is seeking to continue being a strong advocate of a reformed, strengthened and representative United Nations rooted at the centre of a rules-based international system.

The country is also seeking to build appropriate linkages between UN and African bodies to help solve regional conflicts, or prevent them. While the third point is to promote ideas that create useful environment for a just society.

Kenya’s fourth agenda is seeking to have the UNSC provide clear mandate and financial support for peacekeeping operations. It will also be pushing the promotion of policies that will ensure women and men participate in conflict resolution programmes.

The sixth agenda is to seek lasting solutions to challenges of forced migration while the seventh is seeking lasting solutions to security challenges caused by erratic climatic conditions. Kenya will also be focusing on promoting actions that include youth participation in key programmes. The country will also push for synergising the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 and AU’s Agenda 2063.

Last but not the least, as a victim of terrorism, Kenya will be seeking to use the UNSC to promote regional and global cooperation against terror merchants.

Kenya has taken her rightful place on the global table and how she uses this opportunity will dictate how the world treats her in future.