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A UN Security Council meeting in session. /AFP-FILE

Fifth Estate

Kenya’s peace and security credentials to benefit the UN Security Council

On 17th June 2020, Permanent Representatives of the 193 UN Member States in New York will cast their ballots for the country candidates vying for slots in the United Nations Security Council.  Kenya, which is the African Union’s candidate for the period 2021-2022, will be on the ballot paper. 

The vote takes place at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the world, and emerged as an existential global security threat. This unraveling pandemic compounds an already complex web of threats that include; climate change, terrorism, intra-state conflicts and transnational organized crimes. This underscores the imperative for global consensus within the international multilateral system on collective responses. With its rich peace and security credentials and an established leadership in galvanizing regional and global consensus on matters of international concern, Kenya is well placed to add value to the Security Council’s efforts in addressing these and other security challenges. Indeed, in the campaign manifesto Kenya makes a strong commitment to drive consensus building across all actors and interests.

Successive Kenyan governments have, since independence, prioritized regional conflict resolution and peace building.  Recognising that peace and stability is a prerequisite for pursuance of development goals, Kenya evolved a peace doctrine that prioritises peacemaking and peace building as a core pillar of our domestic and foreign policy.

Within the Greater Horn of Africa, we remain an anchor state for peace, security and conflict management, working through bilateral arrangements and regional frameworks, including  the African Union and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Our conflict mediation efforts date as far back as 1975 when Kenya’s first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta brokered a truce between three Angolan nationalist parties in an attempt to salvage the Alvor Agreement. In the 80s President Daniel Moi was instrumental in the Mozambique peace process that sought to end the military confrontation between the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) and The Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO), as well as in the Arusha peace processes for both Rwanda and Burundi.  In the 1990s we engaged with the Democratic Republic of the Congo peace process, becoming an initiator of the International Great Lakes Region International Conference (IGLRI).

Closer home, Kenya invested diplomatic capacity and financial capital in the search for solutions to conflicts in the Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and Ethiopia. Kenya hosted and mediated the Sudan Peace Process that birthed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) 2005 to which it remains guarantor. Kenya hosted and facilitated the Somalia peace process that established  the Transitional Federal Institutions, inaugurated the Transitional Federal Parliament and led to the election of a President in 2004, in Nairobi. Kenya is also currently at the centre of the IGAD led South Sudan peace process.  At the African Union level, Kenya has remained active in the search for peace since the OAU days, becoming a founder member of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) where we are serving for a third term: 2007-2010, 2010-2013 and currently 2016-2019.

At a more global scale, Kenya has taken part in peace missions across 40 countries, contributing over 55,000 personnel. We host the oldest and largest International Peace Support Training Centre in Africa; which has trained peace support personnel from all over the world. The Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF); a sub-regional force of the African Standby Force is also based in Kenya. Under Kenya’s leadership, the Eastern Africa and the Great Lakes regions countries adopted the Nairobi Declaration on the Proliferation of Illicit Small Arms and established the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA) in Nairobi.

On terrorism and violent extremism, Kenya has been steadfast in building partnerships for strategic and operational preventive approaches. We continue to lead in defining the challenge of terrorism and seeking regional and global solutions to it. We continue to forge for the engagement of all segments of society in the search for sustainable peace. We foster   the right environment for humanitarian assistance, promote the empowerment and participation of women and youth in the search for peace and development and promotion of human security in order to spur the full potential of all human beings.

On 7th November 2019, as the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, I had the honour and privilege to lead the Kenya team, in the launch of our global campaign in New York.  In our call for support we promised to bring experience, expertise and networks accumulated over time, to the UNSC as Kenya’s contribution to humanity. We promise consistency, we promise commitment and resolve to contribute to the mandate of the UNSC in the maintenance of international peace and security. To the United Nations Membership, I urge, Support Africa: Vote Kenya!

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Amb. Monica K. Juma DPhil

Cabinet Secretary for Defence. Kenya

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