Djiboutian Aloofness Exacerbates Discord with Kenya over UNSC Seat

Presidents Uhuru and Guelleh of Kenya and Djibouti in UNSC seat standoff

Somalilandsun: A seat open to an African country as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council is cause for disharmony between East and the Horn of Africa regions.

This is as a result of the quest of the UNSC seat by both Djibouti and Kenya of which neither is ready to stand down for the other thence oncoming hullaballoo in African corridors of power and at the UN in New York.

Kenya has raised a complaint about Djibouti’s ‘dishonourable’ campaigns for the non-permanent member of the UN Security Council seat, in the wake of failure to have Nairobi’s endorsement by the African Union reversed.

Both countries have been seeking the seat, whose election is due in June at the UN headquarters in New York.

But Nairobi, which was endorsed by the African Union in 2019, is complaining that Djibouti is engaging in underhand acts in an attempt to overturn Kenya’s approval.

Immediately after the two days 33rd AU summit which concluded in Addis Ababa on 10th February Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said Djiboutians were campaigning without “decorum and certitude” and were in fact disrespecting the African Union by talking ill of the continental body’s decisions.

“Contrary to the false impression that was being created prior to the 33rd Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly, this endorsement was final and not subject to review,” Kenya said, arguing the AU had “unequivocally affirmed the decision to endorse Kenya.”

Monica Juma, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs

“Kenya considers this matter no longer solely about the candidature but about the values and principles we have all chosen to abide by. Kenya therefore distances itself from any campaign that brings dishonor and disrepute to the African Union and any of its member states.”

Ahead of the 33rd Ordinary Summit, Kenya had formally sought clarification from the African Union on why Djibouti is still campaigning for the non-permanent member Security Council seat, yet it lost the nomination to Nairobi last year in a vote.

But Djibouti, in response, officially challenged the validity of the vote, arguing in fact the rules of rotation would have automatically granted it the endorsement since it had served at the UNSC fewer times than Kenya.

“Djibouti is formally challenging the process carried out within the African Union which led to Kenya’s competing nomination,” Djibouti said in a statement issued on Thursday.

“This process took place in violation of the rules and traditions of the organisation. Djibouti points out that the texts provide that, in the event of multiple candidacies or lack of consensus, states are chosen according to two principles: That of last rotation and that of frequency.”

Djibouti’s contentious argument is that it would have prevailed in both cases. Kenya served on the UN Security Council in 1977-78 and 1997-98. Djibouti has served once in 1993-94.

The Djiboutian aloofness to both AU decision and Kenyan position has seen the tiny Horn African Country take its case directly to the UN in New York thus prompting AU’s Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), to communicate officially with the AU ambassador to the UN.

The PRC a powerful body comprises Permanent Representatives to the Union and other plenipotentiaries of Member States with the mandate to conduct the day-to-day business of the African Union (AU) on behalf of the Assembly and Executive Council. … Act as an advisory body to the AU Executive Council.

In its letter to the AU envoy to the United Nations the PRC was categorical on the choice of

Mahamoud Ali Youssouf Djibouti foreign affairs minister

Kenya for the UNSC non permanent seat reserved for Africa thence urging avenues to curtail contrary Djiboutian pursuits at the global body headquarters.

Djibouti has turned a blind eye and deaf eye to the AU general assembly decision, the PRC interventions as well as the Kenyan position arguing that the east African country is not in a position to represent Africa not to mention that it has sat as a non permanent member twice therefore current opportunity for another country that is Djibouti.

As we consider the AU votes last august in which Kenya garnered 37 votes to Djibouti’s 13 all eyes and ears now await to see where the acrimony between the Anglophone and Francophone countries ends.