Kenya vs. Djibouti: Who will represent Africa on the UN Security Council?
Denis Gitau  |  Jun 18, 2020

Kenya and Djibouti are now heading into round two of their face off for a seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

This comes after Nairobi won the first round but failed to secure a two-thirds majority after scoring 113 votes against Djibouti's 78. As such a second round of voting to take place on Thursday.

The two are competing for the African bloc's non-permanent member seat.

For one to win, at least two-thirds of the voting member states are needed. Therefore, should all members vote, one needs 128 votes to gain a seat at the UNSC.

There are five seats open this year in the 15-member body for Africa, Asia, Latin America, Caribbean, and two seats for Western Europe. Those who secure a seat, serve there for two years.

Voting at UNSC

To be declared a winner, countries must gain at least two-thirds of the total votes in the first round.

Should the first round end with no winner, the second round is restricted to the top two candidates who gained the most votes in the first round. This can go on for a maximum of three times after which the floor shall be opened for any interested candidates to take part in the race.

Charged with global peace and security, the UNSC is the most powerful organ of the UN. By law, whatever decisions are made by the council have to be obeyed by all member states.

If Nairobi were to win, it would join the ten non-permanent members who work with the permanent five, that is; Russia, China, United Kingdom, United States, and France, in passing resolutions relating to global peace and security.

The permanent five, however, often have the power to veto. As such, when they cannot agree on key issues, non-permanent members are often required to alter decisions in their favor thus giving all members some level of influence. This is in addition to having the opportunity to preside over sittings

Elections to non-permanent seats typically take place each year. However, this year’s election was historic as they took place without plenary sessions and under restrictions of the COVID19 pandemic

Other candidates included India, Mexico, Canada, Ireland, and Norway. India ran unopposed securing 184 votes for the Asia/Pacific region.