NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 19 – President Hege Geingob of Namibia has pledged to fully support Kenya’s United Nations Security Council (UNSC) nonpermanent membership bid for the 2021-2022 term.
Namibia’s endorsement was announced on Friday when Geingob met President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House Nairobi where the two led their respective delegations for bilateral talks.
“You have permanent support from us for the UNSC seat,” the Namibian leader said in brief remarks after the talks.
Confirming the endorsement, President Uhuru Kenyatta welcomed Namibia’s backing terming it as a proof of strong bilateral ties between the two nations.
“I am grateful and truly delight for Namibia’s resolve to support our bid for the UNSC membership for the period 2021-2022,” Kenyatta said.
He said Kenya will work closely with Namibia to push for reforms in the United Nations by championing the climate change agenda and sustainable development.
Kenya has been a non-permanent member of the council twice in the years 1973-1974 and 1997-1998.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma had in September said the country would launch its campaign for UNSC in June 2019, ahead of elections during the 74th session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2019.
Juma indicated that the country was already lobbying for an endorsement from its peers in the African Union (AU) and the region ahead of the campaign launch, efforts that have started yielding results going by Namibia’s support.
The UNSC comprises five permanent members with veto powers who include China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Five of the 10 non-permanent member slots are shared between African and Asian countries.
During the Friday briefing, President Geingob announced plans to award Kenya’s ex-Vice Chief of Defense Staff Retired Lieutenant General Daniel Opande with the second highest honour for his peacekeeping role in post-independence Namibia.
According to Geingob, the award was in appreciation of the vital role Kenya played in sustaining public order in Namibia.
Lt Gen Opande served as Deputy Force Commander of a UN peacekeeping force between 1989 and 1990 with Kenya extending its stay after following a request by then Namibian leader and founding President, Samuel Nujoma.
“Comrade Nujoma asked President Daniel arap Moi to allow Kenyan forces to remain after UN peacekeepers left so that we could set up our national army and the Kenya government agreed to have its military remain for three months,” he recalled.
Geingob arrived at State House shortly after 10am on Friday and was accorded military reception complete with a 21-gun salute.
President Geingob who is accompanied by his spouse, Monica Geingob, arrived in the country Thursday evening.
Talks between Kenyatta and Geingob came against the backdrop of a meeting between Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and her Namibian counterpart Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah who inaugurated a ministerial session for the recently launched Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) for the two nations on Wednesday.
On Monday, Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau inaugurated a meeting of senior officials of both Kenya and Namibia as the inaugural session of the JCC kicked off.
In his remarks at the session, Kamau urged the officials to identify sectors where the two nations could cooperate in order to leverage on comparative advantages.
He said the commission will focus on key tenets of the collaboration agreement between Kenya and Namibia with clear timelines for the implementation of the commission’s agenda.
In her remarks during the Monday session, Namibian Permanent Secretary for International Relations Selma Ashipala-Musavyi said her country was committed to deepening existing ties with Kenya for the benefit of the two nations.
Ashipala-Musavyi noted that relations between the two nations dated back to pre-independence when Kenya assisted Namibia in her liberation struggle.
“It is this rich history that laid the strong foundation of the diplomatic relations and bilateral cooperation between our two countries,” she observed.
Kenya has been a key partner to Namibia especially in the health sector with the expat Kenyan community in the nation located on the southwest of Africa projected at 500 in 2010.
Kenya-Namibia relations have been reinvigorated in the recent past, the two nations working closely on key regional and continental agendas including the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) which has been signed by both nations.
During a recent visit to Namibia, CS Juma commended the country for joining close to fifty African States that had signed to the trade agreement brokered during an African Union summit in Kigali, Rwanda, in March.
“This is a clear indication of resolute political goodwill for a more integrated Africa. We encourage Namibia to follow through with the ratification process so as to realize the African vision that is integrated, strong, united and influential global players and partners,” she said during her visit to Windhoek in July.
President Kenyatta is expected to host Geingob for dinner at State House Nairobi.
The Namibian leader will grace this year’s Mashujaa Day celebrations to be held in Kakamega on Saturday.