By PSCU/Grace Maina
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres described Kenya on Tuesday during his state visit as a symbol of the positive story of Africa, which is replacing the usual narrative of unending crises.
Mr Guterres said Africa is now being seen more and more as a land of achievement and opportunity, adding that no country reflects that image more than Kenya does.
The UN Boss who spoke when he addressed a join press conference with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House heaped praise on Kenya for its governance capacity, vibrant civil society, business community and its free press.
“Kenya is an example in all aspects that can be copied not only in the African continent but around the world proving that in today’s international community there are countries that are moving in order to make sure that the three pillars of the UN can be fully met — peace and security, sustainable and inclusive development and human rights,” said the UN boss.
On his part, President said the new UN boss, who has also served as Prime Minister of Portugal, is an experienced worker who is familiar with Kenya and the whole region.
President Kenyatta, who earlier held bilateral talks with the UN boss, thanked him for assuring that the international community will work with Kenya to settle back Somali refugees in Somalia and rebuild the county.
“I was very encouraged by the support the Secretary General gave in the matter of the African Union Mission on Somalia (AMISOM). We believe that if it is strengthened appropriately, then we will end the threat posed by Al-Shabaab to Somalia and the region,” said the President.
President Kenyatta also announced that Kenya will on March 25 host a Heads of State Summit for Igad member countries whose agenda will be to discuss a durable solution for refugees from Somalia.
“I think the conference shows that Kenya is willing to consult, and ready to listen to the views of those who wish Somalia and the region well,” said President Kenyatta as he invited the UN boss to attend the conference.
President Kenyatta thanked Mr Guterres for showing enthusiasm to work with Kenya and Africa for collaborative answers to the problems that still trouble the region and the continent.
“A clear sign of that commitment is the Secretary-General’s reaffirmation of the vital place of UNEP, HABITAT and UNON as key institutions hosted in the global South,” said President Kenyatta.
Mr Guterres said the UN is ready to support the Government of Kenya to achieve sustainable development goals.
He also thanked the Government of Kenya for its continued support to the United Nations offices in Nairobi, which he said are being used to the maximum to support operations in other parts of Africa and the world.
Mr Guterres thanked Kenya for its commitment to peacekeeping as well peace enforcement in Somalia and other parts of the world.
“Kenyan forces have played a very important role that I would like to underline here publicly and to express our deep gratitude and respect,” said the UN boss.
Mr Guterres called for more support for the African Union Mission in Somalia in order to complete the job of ensuring working State functions in Somalia.
“It is the moment for the international community to be more clear in its support for AMISOM that has been an extremely important element in the fight against terrorism.
Mr Guterres, who visited Somalia yesterday, said he has come back with hope from the country and called on the international community to rise up in support of the efforts to ensure there is a functioning State that can collect taxes to serve and defend its people.