In a dramatic twist of fortunes, Kenya held off strong opposition from Djibouti to clinch the UN Security Council Seat on Thursday June 18.
They did so after garnering 129 votes against Djibouti’s 62 in the second round of voting.
This therefore means Kenya serves a two-year term for the period of 2021-2022.
Nairobi will also be among the 10 non-permanent members, who often work alongside the permanent five (Russia, China, UK, US, France) to pass resolutions touching on global peace and security.
While the permanent five often have powers to veto, their continual bickering on key issues has often required the non-permanent ten to tilt decisions in their favour, making all members of the Council influential. Besides, all members of the Council get a chance to preside of sittings, providing another opportunity to influence agenda.
Kenya emerged victorious in the first round of elections for the United Nation Security Council seat held on Wednesday June 17. However she was made to wait after she failed to get the two-thirds majority needed to secure the seat.
The East African country trounced her closest rival Djibouti in a 113 against 78 votes showdown.
“A vote for Kenya is a vote for Africa,” President Kenyatta said in his final lobby for support.
Kenya had prior to the poll been endorsed by the African Union (AU) in a bid seen as a reward for Kenya’s efforts in peace building and conflict resolution in the continent of Africa. Equally, the country had been declared the third largest economy in the region by the International Monetary Fund, putting it at the heart of international goodwill.
Nairobi and Djibouti set up a tense showdown for the non-permanent member seat for the African bloc.
A new member at the UN’s most powerful organ needs at least two thirds of the voting member states to be declared winner — meaning 128 votes should all 193 nations vote.
This year there are five seats on the 15-member body available with a seat each for Africa, Asia, Latin America, Caribbean and two seats for Western Europe. The winners serve a two-year term.
The UN Security Council is the most powerful organ of the UN, charged with maintaining global peace and security. Its decisions, by law, must be obeyed by all UN member states, giving its prestige and power.
The elections for non-permanent seats of the UN’s most powerful are often routine annual events. But the two day election was historic because representatives voted under restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, and without the plenary sessions.