Yesterday, Thursday, June 18, 2020, neighbouring Kenya won a seat at the United Nations Security Council when it emerged winner in a very hotly contested second round of voting and defeated Horn of Africa based Djibouti.

United Nations (UN) member states were subjected to a second round of voting to determine whether Kenya or Djibouti would grace the Security Council as Non-Permanent members for a period of 2 years.

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During the initial round of the vote on Wednesday, Kenya polled 113 votes against Djibouti’s 78 but couldn’t be declared winner because the rules require a 2/3 majority of votes for one to go through.

With 191 of the 193 countries participating in the crucial second round, Kenya gathered 129 votes while Djibouti finally bowed out with 62 votes.

The Security Council has five permanent members that include Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States of America. It also has 10 other non-permanent members that are rotational among their 193 member states.

Membership on the Security Council provides Non Permanent Member States with the opportunity to advance issues important to them. Most governments, when they win seats, focus their agenda to linking the work of the council more closely to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

With Kenya, as a member, the country’s agenda can influence regional politics by sustaining peace in the region, addressing climate change, promoting economic security, advancing gender equality, and strengthening multilateralism.

Kenya can advance such priorities and more during its term by taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the Council’s procedures as well as participating effectively in the council’s informal decision-making processes.

Consequently, Kenya will join Tunisia and Niger as Africa’s representatives on the UN’s most powerful organ whose primary role is maintaining international peace and security.

India, Mexico, Ireland and Norway were elected on Wednesday. The UNSC is the only UN body that can make legally binding decisions such as imposing sanctions and authorising the use of force. Her 5 permanent members wield veto powers.