Kenya loses bid for Africa seat on UN Panel

United Nations member states on Friday turned down Kenya’s candidacy for a seat on a powerful UN committee that addresses budgetary and administrative matters.

George Morara Orina, a Counsellor at Kenya’s UN mission in New York, was eliminated in the second round of voting for two Africa seats on the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions.

President Mwai Kibaki had lobbied for Mr Orina’s selection during the head of state’s visit to the UN in September.

Elected as Africa representatives for three-year terms on the 16-member panel were candidates from Senegal and Eritrea.

Kenyan UN Ambassador Macharia Kamau said after the vote that the rejection of Mr Orina was "inexplicable."

Eritrea’s Tesfa Alem Seyoum finished first in the five-way contest for the two seats even though the UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on Eritrea for materially aiding Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia.

Babou Sene of Senegal won the other Africa seat on the committee.

Mr Orina was in second place after the first round of voting by 183 UN member countries. He won 74 votes, compared to 90 for Mr Seyoum and 73 for Mr Sene.

But in the next round, the Eritrean collected 104 votes and the Senegalese candidate got 99, both more than the majority required for election.

Mr Orina received 84 votes to finish third in a race that also included candidates from Botswana and Benin.

Kenya is expected to fare favourably in voting on Monday for a seat on the UN’s Human Rights Council.

Kenya and Ethiopia are the only candidates for two open council slots for the East Africa sub-region

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