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Why AU vote is crucial

Thursday August 22 2019

EDITORIAL
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A key African Union vote in which Kenya swept aside Djibouti by polling 37 votes against 13 votes in a tough contest for a special United Nations position calls for a big round of celebrations in the country. This ballot, which is a major rather rare victory for the country on the diplomatic front in recent years, could just pave the way for the country to become a more influential player in global international affairs. Thanks to this success, Kenya will now be Africa's sole candidate for a United Nations Security Council seat.

Kenyan diplomats led by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma have put in a commendable effort to bring the country to this level. Just like President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is elated at this potential significant contribution to the cementing of his own legacy, the diplomats are happy about a job well-done, even though there is still some more work to do.

Should Kenya win the Security Council position, it will be a great national achievement as the country secures the non-permanent seat in the elections next June for the 2021-2022 period.

President Kenyatta is grateful for the confidence shown in Kenya by the AU's Permanent Representatives Committee. Winning the seat on the Security Council will, as CS Juma has explained, be an opportunity for Kenya to sit at the same table with the permanent members, including the United States, who are the major decision makers on global peace and security.

This is a welcome development that should see the country gain more traction in international affairs. But most importantly, his should confirm its position as a regional power and a rising player in international politics. It is a role the country cherishes, as is evident in its participation in resolving regional conflicts and fighting terrorism and other global challenges.

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