Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma has withdrawn from the contest for the position of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.
Amb. Juma’s withdrawal was officially confirmed on Tuesday, with Kenya citing division within the Commonwealth for the decision to quit the race.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Kenya had mobilized a majority of member states in support of Monica Juma but some were non-committal on their decision.
“Because the Commonwealth is a fraternal body, consensus is very important when it comes to a change of leadership. Kenya had managed to mobilize a majority of member states, over 30 of them, in support of Monica Juma.
“We still had a few who felt that they were not yet ready. In the interest of harmony and fraternal relations with the Commonwealth we felt that we will back away from the contest for now,” reads the statement.
Commonwealth is a voluntary association that brings together 54 countries in Africa, Asia, America, Europe and the Pacific.
Monica Juma was seeking to succeed Patricia Scotland who is the sixth Secretary-General of Commonwealth and the first woman to hold the post.
Previous holders of the position include Kamalesh Sharma of India (2008-2016), Don McKinnon of New Zealand (2000-2008), Chief Emeka Anyaoku of Nigeria (1990-2000), Sir Shridath ‘Sonny’ Ramphal of Guyana (1975-1990) and Arnold Smith of Canada (1965-1975).
The Commonwealth Secretary-General is responsible for: promoting and protecting the Commonwealth’s values, representing the Commonwealth publicly and the management of the Commonwealth Secretariat
Elections for the top job were scheduled to be held in Kigali, Rwanda in June this year during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
The meeting which was due to be held in June 2020has been postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commonwealth leaders selected Rwanda as host for their next summit when they met in London in 2018.
The election of the commonwealth secretary-general is done by heads of government who assemble at every other Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Prior to the elections, the member states make nominations and the Chair of the CHOGM, who is the head of government of the host nation, is responsible for declaring the candidate who garnered the greatest support.