‘Africa is Happy, Willing and Open to Work With Partners in Mutually Beneficial Arrangements’

Statement by Amb. Amina C. Mohamed Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of kenya at the 4th africa-arab summit, malabo, equatorial guinea on november 23, 2016

H.E. PRESIDENT TEODORO OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF EQUATORIAL GUINEA

H.E. PRESIDENT IDRISS DEBY ITNO, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF CHAD AND CO-CHAIR OF THE SUMMIT

H.E. PRESIDENT MOHAMED OULD ABDEL AZIZ, PRESIDENT OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF MAURITANIA,

H.H. SHEIKH SABAH AL AHMAD AL JABER AL SABAH, THE EMIR OF THE STATE OF KUWAIT,

H.E. DR. NKOSAZANA DLAMINI ZUMA, CHAIRPPERSON POF THE AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION,

H.E. MR. AHMED ABOUL GHEIT, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES

EXCELLENCIES,                                                                  

DISTISNGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

I would like to take this opportunity to express my delegation’s deep gratitude for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements put in place by our gracious hosts, the Government and People of Equatorial Guinea. It is my singular honour to convey the warm greetings of H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya to his dear brother H.E. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. The success of this summit is by and large thanks to the hospitality of our hosts and the facilities that they have put at our disposal.

Africa has adopted a transformative blueprint: Agenda 2063, whose central vision is a united, peaceful and prosperous Africa in which the full potential of the continent and especially its youth is actualized. Africa is happy, willing and open to work with partners in mutually beneficial arrangements to achieve the objectives of Agenda 2063. Allow me to congratulate the President of The Sudan on the award presented to him. The Arab-Africa partnership could be integral to the implementation of Agenda 2063. It is incumbent upon us to determine how best to realize this.

The Africa-Arab partnership is built on a foundation of a shared culture and deep rooted historical ties. Indeed, Many Arab countries are on the African continent and members of our own African Union.

Recent events have painfully showed us that lack of clarity, mutual respect, may threaten and even fatally diminish the vitality, integrity and potential opportunities this partnership holds for us. Our understanding of and support for common causes must flow both ways and be addressed with equal zeal and passion. Nothing should ever be assumed or taken for granted.

In the last five days, significant effort has been exerted to reach agreement on the critical issues that collectively face us. During that period, we have deliberated diverse issues and it is true that in some instances our deliberations have been quite intense and vigorous. In any family, honest discussion is important in devising a meaningful, realistic way forward. Honesty they say is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. The outcome before us is the net return for the efforts and energies that we have honestly expended.

Excellencies

As we come to the end of this 4th Summit, it is important for us all to reflect on the true status of this partnership. We are at a crossroads. We strongly believe that there is an historic opportunity to create an infrastructure, firmly and honestly built on integrity and mutual respect, so that this partnership can stand the test of time and thrive as it must.

As a founding member of the Union, the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic has a rightful seat just like any other member of the African Union in all its partnerships. This is in accordance with the decisions of the AU Summit. This principled position is non-negotiable and must be respected by all our partners.

Our proud organisation, the African Union operates on the basis of established rules, regulations and procedures, that clearly define who we are, what we do and how to do it. Interactions amongst ourselves and with others are informed by this understanding.

Excellencies

The past seventy-two hours have clearly shown that the pioneering work at the African Union to develop a common framework to manage the myriad partnerships, we have with many other organisations, is long overdue. That will allow us, Excellencies, to pursue structured, effective and mutually beneficial relationships, under clearly defined parameters. We will draw lessons and the framework will place appropriate emphasis on mutual respect, trust, consultation, cooperation and shared objectives.

It is critical that this exercise be concluded expeditiously and that it informs all our engagements going forward.

Excellencies, Co-Chairs,

Today, in this beautiful city of Malabo, let us heed the old adage – “in walking alone, I can walk faster, but in walking together we can go further”. Let me conclude by agreeing with those who say that the lack of clarity creates frustrations, causes chaos and undermines respect and true friendship.

We value this partnership. It has produced good results and it is worth working hard to continuously perfect and we must make it work for us on the critical challenges that we all face – From terrorism to economic deprivation.

I thank you.

This is no Way to Honour Kenya’s Contribution to Peace in South Sudan

By Ambassador Amina Mohamed

The dismissal of Lt-Gen Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki as commander of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) comes off as a knee-jerk reaction that fails to address structural limitations of the UN peacekeeping operations.

Even more worrying for Kenya is that the action practically eviscerates the country’s unrivaled contribution to peace and stability in Sudan.

The reason given for the action was that the commander had failed to protect civilians during the violence in Juba last July. He arrived in Juba on 10 June 2016 and officially took over on 17 June 2016. The violence in Juba took place from 08 July to 12 July 2016. The tragic attack on the Terrain Hotel happened on 11 July 2016. The ex parte decision was arrived at against an individual who had arrived at the workplace just three weeks earlier, raising reasonable doubts about his culpability. This was clearly a scapegoating verdict rather than an honest intent to troubleshoot.

Kenya has taken part in peace keeping operations in more than 40 countries, sending out over 30,000 soldiers in the process. However, its military involvement was not the first contribution to peace in Sudan.

Kenya provided a huge logistics and operations hub for Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS), way back in 1989, following a devastating famine and the civil war between the then Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement Army. Kenya supported the first humanitarian programme that sought to assist internally displaced and war-affected civilians during an ongoing conflict which helped save millions of lives. It was by far the largest humanitarian assistance programme.

Kenya also took the lead in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in January 2005, by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and the Government to end the civil war. It also set a timetable for a Southern Sudanese independence referendum. A top Kenyan soldier, General Lazaro Sumbeiywo, led in mediating the negotiations.

The two processes were quite long-drawn and laden with disappointments as would be expected of any belligerent setting, and Kenya bore the brunt squarely. This is why the latest decision to, as it were, blame the country’s military leadership on peacekeeping’s structural weakness did not go down well in Nairobi.

The government of Kenya has already protested the lack of formal consultation prior to the dismissal of Lt-Gen Ondieki, terming it a demonstration of disregard of Kenya’s key role in South Sudan.

What’s more, one discerns a whiff of jury inconsistency; in August last year following allegations of multiple sex abuse allegations against peacekeeping troops in Central African Republic, it was the UN peacekeeping envoy Babacar Gaye who was fired. Inexplicably, in South Sudan case the axe fell on the newly-arrived military commander.

Kenya’s ire is quite expected, given that the international community was already getting exasperated with the situation in South Sudan. Just a few months before the incident in Juba, the United Nations Security Council had authorised an increase in troops and the use of lethal force to protect civilians.

At the time, we in the region were acutely aware that something was amiss and the ability of UNMISS to operate was so crippled that it required urgent attention if its mandate was to be achieved. That was also precisely why most of South Sudan’s neighbours offered to contribute to the protection force and started working on making it operational.

It was also critical that the peace process in South Sudan be continuously encouraged along and any challenges that arise be quickly addressed, if justice was to become the cornerstone of the governance architecture in South Sudan. It had become abundantly apparent to many of us that in fact the situation in South Sudan required more sustained political negotiation and support than military presence.

A report by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services released recently acknowledged that operational and political constraints within missions were at odds with their legal authority and mandate to act and that some missions felt outnumbered and stretched “making the use of force only a paper option”.

As was the case in many conflict areas, military action without commensurate effort in political negotiations sets any mission up for only limited impact. Tough questions must then be asked not only regarding the success rate of UN peacekeeping missions, but also how to deal with the center when it is reluctant or too slow to respond to the needs of the field. Perhaps we have not learnt from Srebrenica, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Security Council should much more actively support regional efforts by ensuring that the forces on the ground have the enablers and multipliers needed to ensure successful missions. History shows that missions with adequate resources and attention are more often than not successful.

Unless the international community goes back to the drawing board, well-intentioned efforts by countries who contribute troops such as Kenya will appear unappreciated, and the civilians in South Sudan will continue to shed blood needlessly. Member states will not want to participate in missions set for failure ab initio and where the speed to condemn is disproportionate to the urgency in supporting the mission.

Firing one of our generals for the systemic weaknesses of UN peacekeeping and without prior consultation is not only disrespectful, but dishonors Kenya’s contribution to peace in South Sudan.

Ambassador Amina Mohamed is Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kenya.

A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Lt-Gen Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki arrived in Juba on 10 January 2016. He arrived on 10 June 2016.

 

EAC Ministers Endorse Amb. Amina Mohamed for AUC Chairperson Position

Ministers responsible for East Africa Community, have endorsed their Kenyan colleague, Amb. Amina Mohamed, for the position of African Union Commission Chairperson person due for election in January 2017.

Below is the Communique issued after consultative meeting held on Saturday November 12, 2016 at Kempinsky Hotel in Nairobi;

COMMUNIQUE OF EAC COUNCIL-NairobiNovember12, 2016

 

Kenya Lobbies Hard for its Candidate for AUC Chairperson

By Edwin Limo

Kenya has sought the support of the African Union Summit Chairman, President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad for its candidature for Chairperson of Africa Union Commission.

In a charm offensive lobbying targeting five countries in central and western Africa, a team lead by Deputy President William Ruto started off in N’Djamena early this week where he met President Deby, the current Chair of the Summit.

Accompanied by the Candidate, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohammed, Ruto said Kenya believes its candidate has what it takes in terms of experience and knowledge to drive the African agenda forward.

The DP presented a special message from President Uhuru Kenyatta to President Idriss Deby, and expressed confidence the Chadian President would consider supporting Kenya although he has a candidate for the same position.

 

Chad has nominated its long serving Foreign Affairs Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat for the position of  chairperson of AUC and Ruto said President Deby has two candidates and will have one of them  elected in  January  2017.

“President Deby has had discussions with President Kenyatta over this matter and we hope that one of the two candidates will be elected the chairperson of African Union Commission in January,” said Ruto.

President Deby acknowledged that he had two candidates saying they both had the experience and knowledge to steer the Secretariat.

 

“ We do not want someone who will take instructions from outside Africa. Whoever will be elected must drive the African agenda and push for reforms within the United Nations,” said President Deby.

Ruto said Amb. Amina was best suited to take over from outgoing Chair, Madam Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma,  since she seats in the executive council of Africa Agenda 2063 and understands where Africa should be.

Mr. Ruto vouched for the integration of the African countries saying  Africans should fast track the integration of the continent to create a huge market that can compete favourably with other international markets in trade and investment.

 

Kenya Participates in Havana Fair

The 34th edition of the International Fair of Havana (FIHAV 34) was held from October 31 – November 4, 2016 in Havana, Cuba. A total of 60 countries and 3000 companies took part and Kenya was only one of four African countries participating for the first time. A total of 1142 participants visited the Kenyan stand with the Cuban Vice President H.E Salvador Antonio Valdes Mesa taking time off his busy schedule to visit the Kenyan stand. – By Amb. Anthony Muchiri

 

IMG-20161110-WA0027 IMG-20161110-WA0028 IMG-20161110-WA0030 IMG-20161110-WA0029

President Kenyatta Formally Launches CS Mohamed Candidature for AUC Chairperson

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday night formally launched Kenya’s candidature for the African Union Commission Chairperson position.

Speaking at State House Nairobi when he hosted African Envoys accredited to Kenya and their Kenyan counterparts from various Africa’s capitals, President Kenyatta described the candidate, Amb. Amina Mohamed as an experienced consensus-builder.

“I believe that we have a lady of courage and valour. Mine is to request you to lend your support for the candidature of Amb. Amina Mohamed with a promise that you will get a servant who will work for each one of us,” the President said.

President Kenyatta said he accepted to forward the name of Amb. Mohamed after wide consultations with his colleagues from across the continent. It was after he got across the board consensus that he forwarded the name of Amb. Amina Mohamed, arguably when one of the best performing Cabinet Secretaries in Jubilee Government.

“We submitting a name of an individual who is a consensus builder, an individual who brings people together. An individual who is organised and will help us organise the African Union,” he said the President.

Adding: “You know Amb Amina as a focused public servant who is known for the positions she has taken on issues affecting Africa and Kenya and has been vocal even in the global arena.”

CS Mohamed while accepting the nomination said she aims to bring to the African Union Commission experience acquired over the years in public service and at the United Nations.

“I will strive to ensure that Africa’s dignity is never tampered with if elected as the chairperson. I will ensure the African Union delivers a better life for Africans,” she said.

“We have been politically emancipated. We are working hard to ensure we are economically emancipated. We also need to ensure that our institutions, systems and mechanisms are emancipated and that is what I hope to work on,” said CS Mohamed.

If elected, Amina will be succeeding South Africa’s Madam Nkosozana Dlamini-Zuma, the first woman to lead the continental body. Kenya is leaving nothing to chance and is rolling out a campaign that will reach all the 54 AU member states

Following is Amb. Amina Mohamed speech at the formal launch:

Speech -Reception for Diplomatic Corps