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Namibia backs Kenya’s bid for UN council seat

Namibia President Hage Geingob, in the country for Mashujaa Day celebrations,  held a joint press briefing with his counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenya’s bid for the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) seat got a boost after Namibia President Hage Geingob pledged his nation’s support.

Speaking during the joint press briefing at State House, Nairobi where President Uhuru Kenyatta hosted him, Geingob termed Kenya his second home with shared history and bilateral cooperation.

He assured Kenya of Namibia’s support in its bid to capture a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the period 2021 to 2022.

“I assure you that Namibia fully supports Kenya’s candidature for the non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the period 2021 to 2022,” said Geingob.

Uhuru had indicated that Kenya will be vying for a membership of the United Nations Security Council. The move for Kenya to vie for the SC seat was reached during the 3rd Cabinet meeting for 2018.

The elections will be held during the 74th session of the UN in 2020 and if Kenya wins the seat, it will enhance its influence in international decision-making.

This will be “particularly on matters of peace and security for the benefit of the nation and the region at large.”

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations charged with maintaining peace and security in the world. It is also charged with accepting new members to the United Nations

Meanwhile, the two nations signed three key agreements to bolster cooperation on tourism, youth and political consultations.

Uhuru said the signing of the agreements present new opportunities and partnerships as well as gives traction to bilateral relations between the two countries.

“Our two countries share similar aspirations and challenges, and we can draw from each other’s experience to complement the expertise and the comparative advantage of each country to further our respective national development agenda,”  said Uhuru.

He expressed satisfaction that foreign ministers of Kenya and Namibia have remained engaged in the last three months, leading to inauguration of the Joint Commission for Cooperation which had remained dormant although it was signed more than 20 years ago.

Uhuru cited education, particularly in basic, vocational and university training, including teacher exchange programmes especially in the fields of Maths, English and Sciences as one of the important areas of cooperation that should be cultivated.

On his part, Geingob apologised to local investors wishing to do business in Namibia  for unfriendly laws on licensing but assured the issue had been resolved.

“We apologise to investors from Kenya who have been shortchanged by the licensing laws but we have bypassed the bureaucrats to solve it at our levels,” said Geingob.

Kenyans working in Namibia have been forced to renew working licences after three months but now will renew after five years.

Geingob accompanied by his wife Monica Geingob, arrived in the country on Thursday evening.

Talks between Uhuru and Geingob come against backdrop of a meeting between Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and her Namibian counterpart Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah who inaugurated a ministerial session for the recently launched Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) for the two nations on Wednesday.

On Monday, Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau inaugurated a meeting of senior officials of both Kenya and Namibia as the inaugural session of the JCC kicked off.

In his remarks, Kamau urged the officials to identify sectors where the two nations could cooperate in order to leverage on comparative advantages.

He said the commission would focus on key tenets of the collaboration agreement between Kenya and Namibia with clear timelines for the implementation of the commission’s agenda.

In her remarks during the Monday session, Namibian PS for International Relations Selma Ashipala-Musavyi said her country was committed to deepening ties with Kenya for the benefit of the two nations.

Kenya helped Namibia meet a personnel deficit at her health centres in 2002.

Kenya has been a key partner to Namibia especially in the health sector with the expat Kenyan community in the nation located on the southwest of Africa projected at 500 in 2010.

Kenya-Namibia relations have been reinvigorated in the recent past, the two nations working closely on key regional and continental agendas including the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) which has been signed by both nations.

During a recent visit to Namibia, CS Juma commended the country for joining about 50 African States that had signed to the trade agreement brokered during an African Union summit in Kigali, Rwanda, in March.

—Bernard Gitau and Agencies

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