Security Council members meet at UN headquarters. File picture: Loey Felipe via AP

Johannesburg – Kenya has been given the African Union’s (AU) endorsement for a UN Security Council (UNSC) seat after Nairobi defeated Djibouti with 37 votes to 13 during a vote at AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Wednesday’s voting was the second round after Kenya initially got 34, Djibouti 15, with two abstentions during the first round.

Kenya originally defeated Djibouti with 33 votes on August 5 while there were 16 abstentions.

However, rules of procedure which require that substantial decisions be made on a two-thirds majority rule calculated on the basis of the total 55 member states of the AU, meant Nairobi had fallen short, the East African reported.

While AU disputes are normally settled through negotiation and consensus neither country was prepared to step down.

Kenya is now Africa’s sole candidate for the UNSC non-permanent seat for 2021-2022 and follows intense campaigning by Nairobi regionally and globally.

Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma says Nairobi’s victory is a vote of confidence by the African continent in her country’s ability to represent an African agenda at the UNSC.

“This endorsement is an affirmation that Kenya has remained true to the decisions and aspirations of the AU and confirms that it is a safe and dependable pair of hands,” Dr Juma said in a Wednesday statement.

“Kenya commits to the African brothers and sisters, that we shall be a bold voice for Africa and shall steadfastly promote and defend the African position.”

However, even with AU endorsement Kenya must still win at least two-thirds of UN member states’ votes when the election is held in New York next year in June.

African News Agency (ANA)