CS Monica Juma drops out of race for top Commonwealth job

Kenya cited a lack of support from the Commonwealth member states forcing withdrawal from the race

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Energy CS Monica Juma

Energy Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma has withdrawn her bid for the Commonwealth Secretary-General role.

CS Juma, who had received backing from President Uhuru Kenyatta, withdrew citing inadequate backing from the Commonwealth nations.

An Australian publication has reported that Kenya had written to the Commonwealth saying it was apparent that some Commonwealth member states were unwilling or uncomfortable to provide backing for Juma.

Dr Juma had initially expressed confidence in clinching the seat saying that her tenure would be driven by diverse advantages from the member states.

“I intend to deliver an effective secretariat, driven by member states’ priorities that optimise and draw from the diverse advantages and potential Commonwealth,” Juma said.

Juma’s withdrawal leaves incumbent Secretary General Patricia Janet Scotland with higher chances as she seeks a second four-year term in the organisation which brings together former British colonies.

Although Juma has pulled out of the race, Kenya believes there’s need for change in the organization’s leadership adding that Juma’s exit would allow other candidates capitalise on what Kenya failed to.

“A change of leadership is 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,” a statement from the ministry of foreign affairs reads.

Before her appointment as Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Juma served as principal secretary in the ministries of foreign affairs and Interior.

The elections are scheduled for June in Kigali, Rwanda in the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meetings (CWHM), following a delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General is responsible for running the affairs of the organisation as well as enhancing the cooperation among member states.

The Secretary-General is deputised by three deputy Secretary-Generals with the current office holders being Deodat Maharaj, Gary Dunn and Josephine Ojiambo.

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