Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres during a meeting last year in New York. The election of Kenya into the UN Security Council is expected to boost its diplomatic influence on the world stage /Photo: State House Kenya

Kenya elected member of UN Security Council after second vote

Kenya won the much-coveted UN Security Council seat after beating its African rival Djibouti in second-round voting in New York on Thursday

Kenya has been elected a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, defeating Djibouti for a seat designated for African countries.

UN Member States chose the country in a second round of voting on Thursday in the General Assembly, with 192 ambassadors casting their ballots.

The run-off took place one day after elections to select five new non-permanent members to serve on the Council, based on regional groupings. Both Kenya and Djibouti had failed to secure the required two-thirds majority on Wednesday, or 128 votes. In the second round, Kenya received 129 votes, and Djibouti 62.

In the first round on Wednesday, Nairobi had scored 113 votes against Djibouti’s 78. The rules of the elections demand at least two-thirds of the eligible UN member states voting to be declared the winner.

Fifteen countries sit on the Security Council, the UN’s most powerful organ.

Five are permanent members, who have the right to veto resolutions: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Ten non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms, with five elected each year.

Joining Kenya at the Council in January 2021 are India, Ireland, Mexico and Norway. They will replace Belgium, Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa.

Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Vietnam will remain in the Council through the end of 2021.

The UN Security Council is the organ of the global body charged with maintaining global peace and security.

Its decisions, by law, must be obeyed by all UN member states, giving its prestige and power.

READ ALSO Why Kenya’s membership of the Security Council is meaningless without UN reform

Kenya now is among the 10 non-permanent members, that often worked alongside the permanent five (Russia, China, UK, US, France) to pass resolutions touching on global peace and security.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who led the campaign to have Kenya elected to the Council, said his country would advance the pan-Africanist agenda of global peace, solidarity and multilateralism.

Citing Kenya’s long history of contributing troops to peacekeeping interventions, the President said Kenya had the right credentials to represent the African continent in the UNSC. He spoke Tuesday night during a virtual campaign meeting with permanent representatives of various countries to the UN hosted by Kenya ahead of the Security Council’s elections on Wednesday.

Adira Kallo


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