IGAD Searches for Lasting Peace for South Sudan

Foreign Affairs CAS Hon Ababu Namwamba, is in Juba leading the Kenyan delegation at the start of the Juba leg of the IGAD Council of Ministers’ shuttle diplomacy whose objective is to find lasting peace and stability for South Sudan.

The delegation of the IGAD Council of Ministers yesterday held marathon consultations with a series of actors and stakeholders, including the IGAD Technical Team led by Special Envoy for South Sudan H.E. Ismail Wais, the African Diplomatic Corp that included Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, AU and International Partners composed of the European Union (EU) and the Ambassadors of Britain, US, Germany, Japan, China, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Netherlands.

Among the issues discussed included the urgent need to:

1. Silence the guns and stop all killings.
2. Allow unimpeded humanitarian assistance to all affected people.
3. Achieve inclusive peace, security and governance in South Sudan.

In his address to the various stakeholders, Hon Namwamba reiterated Kenya’s unflinching commitment to the IGAD-led peace process and urged all international partners to firmly support the process.

“We have come a long way with South Sudan from the time of mid-wifing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in Kenya. We cannot give up now,” said Namwamba.

Noting that the whole region was affected by the domino implications of the situation in South Sudan, Hon Namwamba said the peace process could not afford to collapse. “We have only one option and that is the success of restoration of peace and stability in South Sudan. Failure is no option”.

He stressed on the urgent need to ceasing all hostilities and to providing protection to humanitarian operations and workers. “Our African heads of state and government have targeted to silence all guns on this continent by the year 2020. Let us start that ambitious journey here in South Sudan. By doing so we will give real meaning to our mantra of African solutions for African problems,” he added, and cautioned that the peace process must start delivering substantive results to forestall a growing sense of frustration that this could yet be just another talk shop.

“To quote Ernest Hemingways, we must not mistake motion for action. Let us give hope to the people of South Sudan by delivering tangible results of constructive engagement for peace and stability. And we must not be afraid to try new ways. After all, to get something you have never had you got to do something you have never done”, said Namwamba.

Day one of the shuttle diplomacy also saw a reaffirmation by the IGAD Council of Ministers to deploy punitive measures against individuals violating the ceasefire agreement and the peace process. Punishment will include the freezing of assets and travel bans.

Today, the IGAD Ministers will meet high ranking officials of the government of South Sudan led by President Salva Kiir Myrdit. Next week the Team is scheduled to hold talks with SPLM-IO Leader Riek Machar in Pretoria, South Africa.

CS Address at IGAD Centre of Excellence

Cabinet Secretary Amb Monica Juma on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, gave a speech during the inauguration of IGAD Centre for Excellence for Preventing Violent Extremist (P/CVE) in Djibouti.    

The CS reiterated Kenya’s commitment and support for the centre’s initiatives to counter violent extremism through continuous robust research and analysis  and strategies to insulate democracy from extremism threats.

The institution will offer a dedicated services on prevention and countering of violent extremism in the Horn and Eastern Africa Region through research, training and counter messaging through the latest technology.

The ceremony was also attended by, Mr Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, Djibouti’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Mahboub Maalim, the IGAD Executive Secretary and Amb. Donald Y. Yamamoto, the Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, US Department of State. 

CS Monica Juma Engagements in Djibouti

On the day one of her official visit to Djibouti, Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma had several engagements. The CS held a meeting with her counterpart Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hon. Mahmoud Ali Youssouf. During the meeting, the two Foreign Ministers reiterated the need to unlock the potential in the existing warm fraternal relations and discussed regional peace and security. They also discussed upcoming state visit of President Ismail Omar Guelleh to Kenya, the Second Kenya-Djibouti Joint Commission for cooperation among other bilateral, regional and multilateral issues.

Later in the day, CS Juma called on President Ismail Omar Guelleh, in the presidential palace. She delivered a special message from President Uhuru Kenyatta, conveying an invitation for the state visit to Kenya in May 2018.

In the evening, CS Juma hosted the Kenyan Diaspora in Djibouti to a reception at the Sheraton Hotel. During the interactive session, the CS reiterated the need for Kenyans to continue projecting a positive image of the country, to scout for opportunities and act as links for Kenyan businesses to trade and set up presence. In addition, she echoed the significance of Djibouti to Kenya especially regional security, the potential in horticultural trade, banking and hospitality.

On April 25, 2018, the Cabinet Secretary is scheduled to meet the Ministers for Information, Higher Education, Agriculture and Livestock, as well as the one in charge of economic development and tourism. Later in the day, she will join other dignitaries to launch the IGAD Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Centre.

CS Monica Juma on Official Visit to Djibouti

Djibouti, Tuesday, April 24, 2018 (MFA Press) — Cabinet Secretary Amb Monica Juma has this morning arrived in Djibouti for a two-day official visit. CS Juma was received at Ambouli International Airport by Charge d’Affairs Djibouti Embassy in Nairobi, Mr Abdoulkader Houssein Omar and Amb Mahboub Maalim IGAD Executive Secretary.

During the visit, Kenya and Djibouti will discuss ways to deepen the bilateral ties in trade and investment, peace and security, education exchange and tourism.

Amb. Juma is expected to meet her counterpart State Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Mohamed Ali Hassan. She will later meet Ministers of Communication, Tourism, Higher Education and Livestock. The visit will also see her address Kenyan Diaspora in Djibouti.

Kenya to Chair Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group

Saturday, April 21, 2018 (MFA Press) — As the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting came to a close yesterday, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) members elected Kenya to chair the group for the next two years.

Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma takes over from Cyprus in the group whose membership currently include Kenya, Namibia, United Kingdom, Samoa, Ghana, Malaysia, Barbados, Belize and Australia. Kenya will be deputised by Australia.

CMAG, established in 1995, is the custodian of values that the Commonwealth hold dear; Human Rights, Rule of Law and Democracy. The Group works with the Secretary-General to see to it that timely missions are undertaken to any of the members having challenges on these values. The Commonwealth places a high priority on being a community of peaceful, democratic countries which promotes and protects shared values, including the separation of powers, rule of law and human rights.

The group assesses concerns such as the unjustified postponement of elections, egregious violations of human rights, the undermining of the judiciary, lack of space for the opposition, and systematic constraints on civil society and the media.

CMAG meetings are convened by the Commonwealth Secretary-General with the Commonwealth Secretariat providing secretarial support.

Accepting the challenge bestowed on her by the members, CS Juma said Kenya was ready to provide leadership that realises results beneficial to the members.

“We are going to have a clear concept of what we want to achieve in the next two years so as to realise the aspirations of the Heads of Government and the Commonwealth for that matter,” said CS Juma.


Canada Accepts Kenya’s Request to co-Host Blue Economy Conference

LONDON, Thursday, April 19, 2018 — Canada has accepted Kenya’s request to co-host the Oceans Conference Kenya is hosting in November. The two countries have agreed to partner on the blue economy and find ways of harnessing ocean resources to support economic growth.

Canada is particularly pleased with Kenya’s offer to organise and host the Conference in November 2018 with a renewed vigour and focus on oceans and their potential to support economic progress.

This was revealed during bilateral talks between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Lancaster House, London, on the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting.

“Our meeting gives us an opportunity to speak about the great relationship between Kenya and Canada. Canada is pleased with the excellent conference on the blue economy you are hosting and is ready to partner with you,” said PM Trudeau.

The PM at the same time invited President Kenyatta to the G7 summit in Quebec in June 2018, which will focus on climate change, security issues and trade, underscoring Kenya’s role as a key player in the search of stability in the eastern Africa region.

Expanding trade with traditional partners like Kenya and similar-minded countries in the 53-member Commonwealth, working together to face emerging security challenges, and seeking to tap and deepen private sector participation in building resilient economies were some of the things the two leaders saw as important to press during the G7 and other summits.

The Group of Seven most industrialised countries comprise the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, and Japan. The group’s next summit will be held in Charlevoix, Quebec, in early June. It will be the second G7 summit President Kenyatta will be attending having attended last year’s event in Taormina, Italy.

“We see this as an important opportunity to entrench the message that we need to continue to do everything in our power to fight poverty. If we don’t fight poverty, it will lead to immigrants from poor countries seeking new pastures in Western countries, with the potential to negatively affect them,” President Kenyatta said while accepting the invitation.

“We have to work to support growth in developing countries, including working to tap greater private sector investment. Development is critical to securing stability,” President Kenyatta added.

Prime Minister Trudeau said he wanted to see greater and consistent action in fighting the challenges wrought by climate change, and that the world needed to work together to ensure it mitigated the effects of adverse and fast-changing weather patterns.

He was also concerned that militants from terror groups in Yemen and elsewhere had the potential to destabilise more countries in the region.

President Kenyatta said part of the solution lay in allowing African troops under AMISOM to continue to be engaged in Somalia.

‘Now is not the time to pull out,” the President said. “We have to ensure that we are working to secure the region, not to undermine the peace and security.”

East Africa is opposed to proposals by the United Nations to significantly reduce military presence in Somalia when Somali security forces are not yet on their feet.

Kenya Committed to Collective Resource-Exploitation

London, Thursday, April 19, 2018 (MFA Press) – Kenya has reaffirmed its commitment to continue championing exploitation of blue economy and harnessing of natural resources and promotion of human development.

Speaking during a Commonwealth Foreign Minister’s forum addressing itself to the topics referred to as a ‘More Sustainable Future’ and a ‘More Prosperous Future’, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary, Amb Monica Juma, said Kenya supports multilateral efforts against piracy through the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) and Djibouti.

She called on Commonwealth members to get involved in capacity building to increase Maritime Domain Awareness among its littoral Members to prepare them to take ownership of their maritime security.

“The cooperation in Maritime Security should not be restricted to piracy but to cover other illicit maritime activities such as Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, smuggling of oil, trafficking of drugs, arms, persons, agricultural products, toxic waste dumping and marine pollution,” said CS Juma.

To this end, Kenya volunteered to be one of the Blue Charter Champions as envisaged by the Commonwealth Heads of Government. The Ministers adopted the Commonwealth Blue Charter, setting out the principles by which Commonwealth member countries will lead international efforts by sustainably developing and protecting their ocean.

They committed to act to safeguard the ocean for future generations. Heads agreed to establish Action Groups on ocean issues led by Commonwealth member countries, which will collaborate with partners at national, regional, and international levels, in addressing identified priority ocean issues of member countries.

The Cabinet Secretary said Kenya was looking forward to hosting Blue Economy Forum in November and urged Commonwealth members to support its hosting and in attendance.

The Ministers at the same time considered and adopted the draft Commonwealth Cyber Declaration and its implementation plan. The Cyber Declaration seeks to address transnational security threats such as improving cybersecurity, preventing and countering violent extremism and addressing serious and organised crime. The Commonwealth will build capacity and share international best practice to enhance security across the world.

CS Juma urged members to increase cooperation across the Commonwealth in detection, investigation and prosecution of computer and cyber-crimes. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility requiring partnership with International Organisations, the private sector, academia, and other non-government entities to implement cybercrimes related national Strategies in the most efficient and effective way.

Kenya is ready to meet cybersecurity challenges together with partners and increase recognition of Kenya as a trusted partner and cybersecurity leader in the East African Community (EAC), Africa and the World.

Kenya to Serve Another Term at CMAG

London, Tuesday, April 17, 2018 (MFA Press) – Kenya will serve for another two-year term in the Commonwealth Action Group (CMAG), the custodian of the group’s close-to-heart values.

The Commonwealth places a high priority on being a community of peaceful, democratic countries which promotes and protects shared values, including the separation of powers, rule of law and human rights.

CMAG established in 1995, is the custodian of these fundamental political values and help the Secretary-General in seeing to it that timely missions are visited on any of the members having challenges on these values.

The group assesses concerns such as the unjustified postponement of elections, egregious violations of human rights, the undermining of the judiciary, lack of space for the opposition, and systematic constraints on civil society and the media.

Kenya has been in CMAG, that is made up of a rotating group of foreign ministers from eight countries, drawn from different regions, for two years now. Its meetings are convened by the Commonwealth Secretary-General with the Commonwealth Secretariat providing secretarial support.

Addressing a CMAG meeting convened today on the sidelines of the ongoing Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting in London, Cabinet Secretary Amb Monica Juma said Kenya appreciates the role Commonwealth had played during Kenya’s electioneering period last year.

“We appreciate the Commonwealth Secretariat for sending professional observers that provided constructive advice during and after the two presidential polls that Kenya went through in 60 days,” said the CS.

She called on the Secretariat to follow through electioneering processes of members and not to stop at the presentation of reports.

“There are many issues that arise after elections and the role that the Commonwealth plays for members should continue way beyond the presentation of elections reports,” said CS Juma.

The meeting adopted the report which among other issues included a report on Maldives which withdrew its membership on October 13, 2016, and matters of interest to ministers.

The current members of CMAG include Cyprus (Chair), Guyana, India, Kenya, Malta, Namibia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Solomon Islands.

President Kenyatta Presides over Start of Trading at London Stock Exchange

London, April 17, 2018 — President Uhuru Kenyatta today presided over the opening ceremony of the London Stock Exchange.

President Kenyatta who is accompanied by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Amb Monica Juma urged UK investors to invest in Kenya. The UK is a leading investor in Kenya with at least 220 British companies operating in Kenya running business valued at more than 2.7 billion Sterling Pounds.

President Kenyatta, who was joined by the Secretary State for International Development (DfID) Penny Mordaunt and the Chairman of the London Stock Exchange Group Donald Brydon, said Kenya is open for business and offers the best investment opportunity in Africa.

“Kenya has just recorded the best improvement in ease of doing business. We are inviting more UK companies to invest in Kenya,” said the President. “Kenya is the third most competitive country in Africa with a liberalised economy.”

He said the business environment in Kenya is supported by a strong telecommunication network, a reformed regulatory framework and an efficient aviation network.

The President said London is a strong partner for Kenya’s economy and this was evident when Kenya’s sovereign bond was oversubscribed by more than 7 times a few months.

“The United Kingdom continues to be a valuable economic partner in Kenya’s socio-economic policies,” said the President.

The President said the London Stock Exchange and the Nairobi Securities Exchange have entered into an agreement for dual listing and this will increase business between Kenya and then the UK.

He said the National Oil Company will dual list on both NSE and the LSE. Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau said he expected the listing to be completed next year.

Mr Brydon said the London Stock Exchange is real to partner with Kenya on the President Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda for Kenya’s growth especially in affordable housing through securitisation.

President Kenyatta said the London Stock Exchange is also working with NSE on an initiative called the ‘elite program’ to support SMEs.

The British Secretary of State for International Development said Kenya and London are similar in the sense that they are both financial hubs.

She said London is the main financial hub for the Commonwealth nations but has more to offer than capital alone.

“We have more than capital to offer. We have the expertise to offer and that is why we have launched the commonwealth digital finance champions group.

President Kenyatta arrives in UK for Commonwealth Meeting

LONDON, APRIL 16, 2018 — President Uhuru Kenyatta last evening arrived in the United Kingdom for a five-day visit during which he will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and hold talks to market Kenya as a preferred investment destination.

The President who is accompanied by among others the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Amb Monica Juma, is scheduled to hold talks with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Theresa May.

He will also hold more bilateral talks with several Heads of State attending the CHOGM, a biennial meeting of leaders from the 53 countries that make up the Commonwealth of Nations.

This year’s summit, focused on promoting prosperity, safety, sustainability and fairness, brings together at least 5000 participants from government, business, and civil society.

The President is also scheduled to deliver an address at Chatham House where he will speak on Kenya’s efforts in achieving inclusive economic growth, the positive role it plays in supporting regional peace, and its station in a globalising world.

Also on the agenda for the President is building momentum for the Blue Economy global conference Kenya will host later in the year.

The blue economy is part of the themes of the CHOGM summit with discussions set to take place on the new Commonwealth Blue Charter on ocean governance.