East African Community member States have endorsed Kenya’s bid for a non-permanent membership slot at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the 2021-2022 term.
The announcement was made Friday following a meeting between Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and her counterparts from Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan on the margins of the 20th Extra Ordinary session of the African Union Executive Council in Addis Ababa.
Tanzania and Rwanda sent representatives to the meeting.
The five countries join Namibia which declared its support for Kenya’s bid mid last month when President Hage Geingob met Uhuru Kenyatta at State House Nairobi.
Kenya’s campaign for the non-permanent membership of United Nations Security Council is set to be launched in June next year ahead of elections to be held in September 2019 during the 74th session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
“We’re hoping that we can get an endorsement at the AU level. If that endorsement comes through, the campaign will be very easy,” CS Juma indicated in September when she announced plans for the campaign.
According to CS Juma, the scope of the campaign will be determined by the number of countries contesting in the election.
“If there’s anyone within our region who is interested in the non-permanent membership then we’re going to launch a global campaign,” she said.
“Indications we’re getting are positive and this is because people are able to look at us (Kenya) in terms of what we’re able to bring to the UNSC,” the CS pointed out.
Kenya has been a non-permanent member of the council twice in the years 1973-1974 and 1997-1998.
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.
Kenya is banking on the UNSC membership to further mobilize support for peace and stability in the region having played a leading role in the inking of a peace deal in South Sudan between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.
Former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka was earlier this month named special envoy to Juba where he will head the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) for the South Sudan peace process.
The South Sudan peace process gained momentum in recent weeks after Kiir and Machar attended a peace day in Juba. The November 1 celebration marked the first time in two years, Machar was returning to Juba after falling out with President Kiir.
The two had signed a peace agreement on August 5 in Khartoum with a revitalized pact signed on September 12 in Addis Ababa.
The agreement created a roadmap for a three-year unity government between Kiir and Machar, an arrangement that will be preceded by an eight-month pre-transition period.
“The transition period is expected to last eight months after which the implementation of the agreement is supposed to take thirty-six months. If the talks in the pre-transition period end before eight months, it is envisaged that the thirty-six months will be pushed forward,” CS Juma had told Capital FM News in a previous interview.
Juma had pointed out that the end 36 months will pave way for elections and ultimately stability in the nation that sunk into violence two years after breaking away from Sudan in 2011 following an independence referendum.
“It is envisaged that by the end of the thirty-six months we should be in a place to organize an election in South Sudan,” she said.
South Sudan’s Parliament has voted twice extending presidential and parliamentary terms by amending the transitional constitution adopted when the nation gained.
The two motions effectively put on hold scheduled elections on July 9, 2015, and July 9, 2018.
Following the August 5 peace deal with Machar, President Kiir on August 9 granted a general amnesty to rebels arrested during the country’s civil war that broke out in 2016 following an attempted coup blamed on Machar.