By Kwanta Douglas –
Kenyan minister Monica Juma has pulled out of the race for the secretary-general of the 53-nation Commonwealth, suggesting divisions in the club of mainly former British colonies about her candidature.
Sources in government confirmed to the Business Daily that the Energy Cabinet Secretary, who has been a key figure in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government, had withdrawn her candidature.
“Yes…she [Dr Juma] has withdrawn,” one source told the Business Daily.
Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald had earlier in a report published on Saturday said that Kenya had formally communicated Dr Juma’s withdrawal citing lack of adequate backing from Commonwealth countries for Kenya’s bid.
“This week Kenya’s Foreign Ministry said that it had ‘become apparent that some member states of the Commonwealth are uncomfortable and/or unwilling to provide their support for our candidate’,” reported the publication.
“In essence, this means that we have not coalesced consensus among all the member states, a situation that could precipitate a raucous campaign that could further fracture, rather than cohere, the Commonwealth family,” the publication quoted a statement from Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying.
The ministry was quoted as maintaining “that a change of leadership was still needed at the top of the Secretariat and that Juma’s withdrawal would allow time for another candidate to enter the race and build the consensus that the Kenyan candidate could not.”
Elections for the top job are set for June in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Business Daily could not obtain the statement or get additional details from Dr Juma on why she or Kenya abandoned the spirited bid despite repeated phones queries.
Dr Juma had been seen as a strong contender to replace Dominican-born British diplomat and long-serving politician Patricia Janet Scotland.
Ms Scotland is serving as the sixth secretary-general of the Commonwealth.