Commonwealth candidate to sell her agenda in Kenya

Wednesday May 11 2022
Jamaican Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith.

Jamaican Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith in Uganda on May 11, 2022. PHOTO | COURTESY | MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, UGANDA


Kenya’s preferred candidate for the Commonwealth of Nations Secretary-General job, Kamina Johnson-Smith, is expected in the country on Wednesday to discuss her vision for the Commonwealth and the critical importance of the Africa-Caribbean cohort in the family of nations.

The Jamaican Minister announced her candidature for Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations in April.

Commonwealth Member States are set to select their next Secretary-General when they convene in Rwanda at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) next month. The Secretary-General is voted in through consensus.

Her trip to Africa began on Saturday, and she is expected to meet government officials from Lesotho, Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana, a statement from London said.

She has already travelled to Lesotho, South Africa, Botswana and Uganda.

Jamaican Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith and Uganda's Foreign Trade Minister Okello Oryem.

Jamaican Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith with Uganda's Foreign Trade Minister Okello Oryem in Uganda on May 11, 2022. PHOTO | COURTESY | MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, UGANDA


Ms Johnson-Smith, who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, is scheduled to meet with Foreign Affairs officials in Kenya, a trip that is part of her larger week-long tour of the eight commonwealth nations in the continent.

“African nations play a central role in determining the future of our Commonwealth and ensuring its shared values extend well into the future,” the minister said.

“I look forward to meeting with members of our Commonwealth family in Africa, to discussing the shared aspirations we have for development and for building a Commonwealth that will deliver on these aspirations for its member states and our people.

The statement further propped her as keen towards advancing collaboration, building consensus and promoting peace and prosperity within the Commonwealth.

“She believes in the Commonwealth Charter as a framework to promote co-operation among member states, fostering friendship, fraternal dialogue and mutual respect.”

“Her transformative vision for the Commonwealth includes a renewed commitment to food security, delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals, advocacy for small states, gender and youth empowerment, good governance, and technical cooperation,” the statement added.

In her home country, the minister also Chairs the Cabinet’s International Relations Sub-Committee, is a member of the Economic Growth and Job Creation Sub-Committee, and sits at the National Security Council.

She also chaired the CARICOM Council of Foreign Ministers and the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development and was the first Jamaican Foreign Minister to attend the G7 and G20 meetings.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is an intergovernmental organisation of 15 member states throughout the Caribbean that seeks to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members.