President Uhuru nominates CS Monica Juma for top Commonwealth job

Tuesday, August 31st, 2021 00:00 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta flanked by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo (left), her Defence counterpart Monica Juma (second right) when he delivered a statement on the nomination of Kenya’s candidate for the post of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth at State House, Nairobi. Also Present is Head of Public Service Dr Joseph Kinyuang. Photo/PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta has nominated Defence Cabinet Secretary Dr. Monica Juma for the post of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

 To demonstrate his confidence in Monica, the Head of State noted how she served well as Principal Secretary in the Foreign Affairs docket and also across the Security departments.

  “Her exemplary service establishes her  as a diplomat per excellence. It is my hope that the next Commonwealth Heads Summit will consider the nomination favourably.

We as Kenyans seek the support and endorsement from the Commonwealth fraternity,” he said.

The President said Juma has an “indisputable track record on strategic leadership, management, representation and knowledge of government, both regional and international.”

“I have no doubt that  the CS will be a strong consensus candidate, who will deliver an effective secretariat driven by member State priorities.

She will help bolster unity amongst the commonwealth family and also enhance innovative partnership,” he added. 

Secretary-General is responsible, for among other duties, promoting and protecting Commonwealth’s values, representing publicly and managing the Secretariat.

Secretary-General is nominated by Commonwealth leaders and can serve a maximum of two four-year terms each.

Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC is the current Secretary-General. 

The last African to hold the position was Nigeria’s chief Emeka Anyaoku between 1990 and 2000.

Other previous holders of the positions include Kamalesh Sharma of India between 2008-2016, Don McKinnon (New Zealand) between (2000-2008), Sir Shridath ‘Sonny’ Ramphal of Guyana (1975-1990) and Arnold Smith of Canada (1965-1975).

Since the 1993 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), it has been decided that the Secretary-General is elected by assembled heads of governennt and other ministerial representatives at every other CHOGM, according to Wikipedia. 

Election process

Nominations are received from member States, who sponsor the nomination through election process and are responsible for withdrawing their candidate as they see fit. 

Election is held in a Restricted Session of CHOGM, in which only heads of government or ministerial representatives thereof may be present. 

Chair of the CHOGM (the head of government of the host nation) is responsible for ascertaining which candidate has the greatest support, through the conduct of negotiations and secretstraw polls.  

There is usually a convention that an incumbent seeking a second term is elected unopposed.

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