Campaigns in top gear for re-election of Kenyan for UN postal union job

The UPU provides advisory services to the 192-member countries, Kenya included.

Sunday March 27 2016

UPU Director General, Mr Bishar Hussein. PHOTO

UPU Director General, Mr Bishar Hussein. PHOTO | LILIAN OCHIENG 

By LILIAN OCHIENG'
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Kenya’s Mr Bishar Hussein seeks backing from over 50 member countries of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) for a new term as his current one as director-general ends on December 31.

The near end of his four year tenure at the top UN agency has opened the stage for intense lobbying.

Mr Hussein’s leadership is important to Kenya’s struggling Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) which is strategically placed to transform from UPU’s advisory services.

The UPU provides advisory services to the 192-member countries, Kenya included. It binds the countries by treaties and offers financial assistance and infrastructure to local postal services such as the PCK.

“Our reach and footprints in many parts of the world makes us able to provide financial inclusion in various ways as well as digital inclusion. UPU is developed against the concepts of innovation, integration and inclusion, applied to all 192 member countries,” said Mr Hussein in an interview  on Thursday.

DIGITAL INCLUSION

Mr Hussein’s re-appointment would mean that “UPU 2020 vision and strategy”, a plan that ensures digital inclusion in the global postal and courier sector, is adopted.

As the brainchild for this transformative plan, he is keen to ensure its success.

Mr Hussein, the first-ever African to hold the position since establishment in 1874, was former postmaster general of the PCK and ambassador to Abu Dhabi.

He has also chaired UPU Council of Administration between 2008-2012.

He told the Sunday Nation that he would want to serve a second term because it has been the norm among all his predecessors.

He is also keen to see the adoption of the vision 2020 UPU concept, his creation, that proposes the transformation of the sector.

His re-election comes at a time when the Communications Workers’ Union has placed a request before President Uhuru Kenyatta for reconstitution of PCK, stating that it is on the verge of collapse.

The sector experienced a slow death with the introduction of technology firms and mobile gadgets that eased communication.

PCK has tried to surge above the challenges as it fights to be relevant in a technology-dominated market, in vain.

Recent Communications Authority statistics show a decline in the sector’s revenue with the number of letters sent locally declining marginally by 0.3 per cent to 16.73 million during the quarter (January to March 2015), down from 16.78 million letters sent in the preceding quarter.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed has been drumming up support for Mr Hussein during her diplomatic meetings.

At Geneva diplomatic meetings held late February, Ms Mohammed held intensive campaigns to ensure support for Hussein to run for a second term.

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