BY AMBASSADOR YACIN ELMI BOUH
Djibouti is of the opinion that the Permanent Representatives Committee of the African Union, which decided on the vote, is an organ that is not authorised to do so.
In law, there is an established principle that any decision made by an entity not competent to do so should be considered null and never be depended on, and is incapable of creating any law.
The COREP, the entity that essentially brings together the ambassadors or other plenipotentiaries of the African Union member countries, and which was the originator of this election, does not have any decision-making power within the AU according Article 21 of the Constitutive Act.
Its role is limited to facilitating the work of the Executive Council and the Conference of Heads of State, both of which make decisions on matters that concern them.
The mandate conferred on it by the Executive Council to study this kind of case does not permit it to exceed its statutory power.
The COREP cannot, therefore, substitute itself for the Executive Council in order to make a decision instead of, and on behalf of it.
And even if it had the consent of the Council of Ministers, as it imagined itself to have, it should not have exonerated itself from the obligation to have it endorse its decision in order to invest it with the authority with which to operate in default.
And in the eventuality that the COREP should be the beneficiary of a real transfer of power from the Council of Ministers, still the COREP cannot, without exposing itself to the repudiation of the Council of Ministers, ignore and violate the rules that the Executive Council has instituted regarding the matter.
In order to decide on the candidates for the Security Council seat, the Executive Council imposed on itself the application of the rotation rule.
On the basis of this rule, the Executive Council has always endorsed the candidature of the country that had sat for the least mandates at the Security Council, and in the event that the countries happen to have the same number of mandates, then the Executive Council retains the candidature of the country whose mandate would increase more with time.
In the case that is of concern to us, Kenya enjoyed two mandates in 1977-1978 and in 1997-1998, while Djibouti occupied the Security Council seat only once, in 1993-1994.
The rotation rule has the advantage of maintaining the cohesion and unity of our States.
It is aimed at protecting the African Union from repeated dissensions resulting from elections that on the whole favour the bigger States to the detriment of the smaller States, and in violation of the principle of sovereign equality that is still fundamental within international law.
These are the reasons that made the African Union Executive Council disavow the COREP by refusing to endorse the voting decision that Kenya is still taking advantage of.
The Executive Council abstained from resorting to the application of Article 23 Paragraph 2 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union against the Republic of Djibouti.
It refused to sanction it for having challenged the vote with a view to corroborating its nullity. That was an elegant way to convey to Kenya the end of its dream of becoming the African Union candidate.
By denouncing the illegality of this vote, Djibouti quite simply reestablished the truth without targeting the honour of its brother country Kenya, which continues to take advantage of a so-called endorsement of the African Union without any legitimate basis.
Put another way, Kenya is basing its candidature on the result of an election organised in total illegality, and above all is relying on an appropriation of the title of the candidate of the AU to have a clear conscience.
It is, however, not something Kenya needs to do so as to maintain its candidature, which is based on its most absolute right. Djibouti respects its decision.
However, the violation of the rotation rule that had prevailed until then with regard to the modalities for the allocation of the seats of the UNSC and the concern for the cohesion of African states that underpins it constitute a reality that Kenya has feigned to be unaware of at the altar of its own interests.
It goes without saying that in the face of Kenya’s obstinacy, the AUpreferred de-escalation by opting for a silence that left each of the parties with the task of assuming its responsibility vis-à-vis the continent.
Djibouti intends to work towards the unity and equality of Africans within the AU. We are not acting under the influence of any person and remains determined to uphold the virtue of the law over the vice of pretension wherever it emanates from. It would be malevolent to think about it otherwise.
Kenya’s determination to attain the Security Council seat at all costs reflects a change of attitude that is at variance with the usual wisdom of a country that reconciles both with international law and its subjects.
It could prove to be unproductive in the quest for a cordial understanding based on equitable representation within the region.
Djibouti holds onto this hope. It hopes to contribute towards the strengthening of multilateralism, respect for international law, the prosperity of humanity, environmental conservation and to the construction of a world that is more just, in greater solidarity, more inclined to knowledge and to science, and more tolerant.
As a small state, Djibouti hopes to represent the voice of micros-states within the Security Council and translate therein their concerns, their fears and their experiences.
The election of Djibouti will transform the Security Council into a democratic melting pot favourable for the expression of all international sensibilities.
Also and as expected, the two Heads of State while meeting in New York gave the tone for this campaign, which up to then had been without any hitch.
Each party carried it out by exposing its motivations and its programme while showing respect for the other.
The two countries have shown great maturity in the management of this competition, and the credit is due to all the respective officials.
This evidence of “Fair Play” comforts us with the idea that there will be no hard feelings following the elections of June 17.
As President Uhuru Kenyatta underscored during one of his contributions, “there will be no loser but a winner, and that will be Africa.”
In his turn, President Ismail Omar Guelleh, in the same spirit, declared “that Djibouti shares many values with Kenya and a population having the same culture.
Where Kenya is, Djibouti is, and where Djibouti is found Kenya will be found. Failure to promote our values can only lie in the absence of our two countries.”
Djibouti’s Ambassador to Kenya