It is undisputed that current Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed is one of Kenya’s finest diplomats. She has served, to attainment of great excellence, at the helm of the foreign affairs docket, as well in senior positions at global organizations including the International Organization for Migration, the World Trade Organization and United Nations Environment Program. At the least, she has an impeccable understanding of the operations of global organizations.
But her candidature comes at a time Kenya has just won a place at the United Nations Security Council. It should be remembered that the vacancy was hotly contested between Kenya and Djibouti and that the election had to go for a second round for a clear winner to be declared.
Amina, one of the few cabinet secretaries to have been awarded the rare opportunity of serving in the two terms of the Jubilee governance, also runs for global position when another Kenyan, Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, is serving as the Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The Kenyan trade expert has served in this capacity for seven years now, bringing glory not only to Kenya but also the entire continent.
But even of greater prominence is the fact that Kenya’s sitting Director General of Health Dr Patrick Amoth is yet to take oath of office after recently being appointed to the United Nations World Health Organization’s Executive Council as Vice Chairperson. The medical practitioner was probably appointed to that high level position because of the candid leadership he has demonstrated as the country battles the novel quagmire that Covid-19 is.
Such a relatively heavy presence of Kenyans at the United Nations directorship positions may not go unnoticed. It is creating, obviously, a feeling of dominance. Kenya, even after expending a considerably large amount of resources to lobby the global community, may face a herculean task convincing the world that yet another Kenyan should be appointed to the echelons of another UN agency.
While it may not be wrong to spend on a mission that may later benefit the country, continent and ultimately the entire world, the question is: Is the move well calculated? Did the president get objective guidance from his advisors before deciding to commit public resources to this cause?
Kenyans may not have forgotten that Amina, in 2017, vied for the seat of AU Commission chairperson. The Kenyan government then mounted a formidable campaign for Mohammed to clinch the seat, only for her to be trounced by Chad’s Moussa Faki. The defeat was a resounding blow to the country given the amount of resources such a challenge had taken. It is not forgotten that Kenya has sent at least an envoy to each of the members of the African Union to lobby support.
One fact that we must face even as we continue this push is that Amina is battling it out with five other candidates, two of whom come from Africa, precisely Nigeria and Egypt. Won’t it be seen as motivated by selfishness for Kenya to lobby for global support twice when there are countries with zero representation at the AU and UN? Won’t the global community feel it is time to give this opportunity to another country?
But why has the president insisted on getting this particular CS a diplomatic job? Is it a quest for Kenya to occupy a high ranking global office or simply, the president doesn’t want her in his cabinet? It is worth noting that she is one of the few cabinet secretaries who were affected by a recent cabinet reshuffle that saw her former docket, the Ministry of Education, reassigned to the technocrat Professor George Nagoya.
While I wish Amina and the country best of luck in pursuit for this position, I ask again: Is the move well calculated? Shall we be convincing enough to win the confidence of fellow African countries days after they supported us to win a slot at the UN security Council?
By Abednego Mwikya
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