Kampala and Nairobi fight over United Nations field missions co-ordination office location

President Museveni in the letter reportedly sent to the UN last week, has described the UN’s decision as “unfair.”

  • President Yoweri Museveni last week wrote  to the United Nations indicating Kampala’s “displeasure” over plans to drop Entebbe in favour of Kenya.
  • The Entebbe centre is currently supported by 427 approved staff, including 134 international staff, 285 Ugandan staff and eight United Nations volunteers.

This follows Nairobi’s bid to host a high profile United Nations field missions co-ordination office that is presently located in Entebbe, Uganda.

Uganda has not taken well the move terming it an “unfair” gesture from one of two “friendly neighbours”.

Daily Monitor, a Ugandan publication on Monday reported that President Yoweri Museveni has written to the United Nations indicating Kampala’s “displeasure” over the UN’s reported recommendation to drop Entebbe as a UN regional service centre in favour of Kenya.

President Museveni in the letter reportedly sent to the UN last week, described the UN’s decision as “unfair.”

The Entebbe centre is currently supported by 427 approved staff, including 134 international staff, 285 Ugandan staff and eight United Nations volunteers.

United Nations offers governments with highly needed foreign currencies through its operations not to mention creating new quality jobs and business opportunities and it seems Kenya  is determined to ‘steal’ the pie from Uganda’s mouth.

United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres is said to have shortlisted Nairobi to host the UN Regional Service Centre in Africa, following spirited bid since 2016 led by Kenya's former representative to the UN, Macharia Kamau.

“The location assessment proposal is contingent on host country consultations...this combination of locations (Budapest, Mexico City, and Nairobi) would provide time zone and regional coverage, ensuring a strong business continuity...” Mr Guterres was quoted saying in a May 1 report to the UN’s advisory committee on administrative and budgetary questions.

The UN office provides support for UN field missions in Africa including; administrative, logistical, information and communications technology services to 13 client missions in Africa; representing over 73 per cent of all United Nations peacekeeping and special political missions worldwide.

All these operations means lots of money is pumped which trickles down to the local economy hence Kampala’s outrage.

Mr Kamau, who is currently Foreign Affairs principal secretary, reportedly exploited his vast professional networks and presented Kenya’s plans to build a Standard Gauge Railway from Mombasa to Nairobi and start of Kenyan Airways’ direct Nairobi-New York flights, due in October, as sweeteners to sway the UN secretariat to accept Kenya’s capacity to handle staff movements and logistical supplies for an expanded regional centre, the Daily Monitor reported.

Mr Museveni  was quoted in his  letter reminding the UN secretary-general that Uganda was the pioneer host of the office and remains the largest troop contributor to the African Union Peace-keeping Mission in Somalia (Amisom), and hence “deserves to host a UN regional service centre due to the country’s substantial contributions to regional peace and security.”

He further asked Mr Guterres to ensure that Uganda is fairly treated and that UN functions and facilities are “shared equitably among member countries.”

The UN boss is yet to respond to the concerns raised, the paper said.

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