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Kenya intensifies lobbying for UN Security Council seat at NAM Summit in Baku

Foreign Affairs CAS Ababu Namwamba was dispatched to represent President Uhuru Kenyatta at the 18th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku. /COURTESY.

BAKU, Azerbaijan Oct 27 – Kenya has stepped up its campaign to win the coveted seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2021/22.

While he attended the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Russia, President Uhuru Kenyatta dispatched Foreign Affairs CAS, Ababu Namwamba to Baku, in neighbouring Azerbaijan to represent him at the 18th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

In Baku, Ababu has mounted a searing campaign all week, with the highlight being his address to the Summit of Heads of State and Government Saturday.

The Summit was opened by outgoing Chair, President Nicholas Maduro of Venezuela and his successor, President Illham Aliyev of Azerbaijan. Presidents Abdelkader Bensalah of Algeria, Hassan Ruhani of Iran, Miguel Diaz Canel of Cuba, Hage Gottfried Gein of Namibia, Nana Addo Dankwa Afufo-Addo of Ghana, Arif Alvi of Pakistan, Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan, Obiang Nguema Mbasongo of Equatorial Guinea, King Mswati III of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed of Malaysia were among the Heads of State and Government who graced the Summit of the organisation that is the largest in the world after the UN, with 120 member states and 17 observer nations.

Foreign Affairs CAS Ababu Namwamba with other leaders at the 18th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) held in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku. /COURTESY.

In his address to the Summit, Ababu highlighted Kenya’s pedigree in anchoring multilateralism and promoting peace and security regionally and globally as a key cutting-edge advantage for the country, and emphasised endorsement of Kenya by the African Union. CAS Ababu also conducted a whirlwind of bilateral talks with up to twenty Heads of Delegations at the Summit, including Presidents and Foreign Ministers to secure commitment in support of Kenya’s candidature. Among the leaders Ababu held talks with were foreign ministers Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar of India, Elma Mammadyarov of Azerbaijan, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla of Cuba and Kinga Sangiye of Bhutan. We understand at least 18 of the 20 countries the Foreign Affairs CAS lobbied confirmed support for Kenya’s candidature.

While CAS Ababu and the Kenyan delegation, he is leading, in Baku are on their campaign blitz, it is understand Djibouti has also mounted a spirited fight back on the same theatre, led no less by their president Ismail Omar Guelleh who personally flew to Baku to address the NAM Summit and lead the push for Djibouti’s candidature. Djibouti had dedicated offices specifically for lobbying delegations to the Baku Summit that closes this weekend.

Though Kenya won the endorsement vote at the African Union in August, Djibouti has disputed the endorsement and pushed ahead with her campaign which is understood to enjoy the backing of the Francophone nations and the Muslim world. The tussle by the two nations from the same Horn of Africa neighbourhood sets the scene for a grandstand finish in June 2020 when the UN General Assembly is scheduled to vote for the next slate of non-permanent members of the coveted UN Security Council for the 2021/22 tenure.

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