Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Defence

Amb. Dr. Monica Juma


I am deeply honoured, and accept, the nomination by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta as the candidate for the Post of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. I am a strategic, visionary, innovative and a transformative leader with a track record of successful public service, commitment and integrity, at the national, regional and international levels.


Hopeful that I shall receive the endorsement of the Heads of Government at the next CHOGM Summit, to serve as the 7th Secretary General, I wish to share my vision of how I intend to lead the Commonwealth Secretariat. At the core of my vision is the imperative to build consensus and galvanize collective action by Member States. This will enable us address the challenges that face us. I will also leverage the opportunities presented by our diversity for development and shared prosperity.

Drawing on my experience in institution building, I intent on deliver an effective Secretariat, driven by Member State priorities that optimize and draw on the diverse advantages and potential of the Commonwealth. The Secretariat that I will lead will work with all Member States to bolster unity of the Commonwealth family, deploy innovative ways of maintaining existing, and forging new, partnerships with critical stakeholders.

I commit to champion the deepening of democratic values especially in the light of growing fragility that is accentuated by a range of risks and threats to governments and communities across the world. Building on past successes of the Commonwealth, I will create effective teams around the core values and principles of the Commonwealth as articulated in the Commonwealth Charter. I conceptualize the role of an effective Secretariat as one that places the Commonwealth values, inter alia, democracy, human rights, sustainable development, peace and security, at the heart of its programmes.

As a unifying force, and driven by passion, I will strengthen the influence of the Commonwealth in shaping global debates and solutions to challenges impacting its membership, such as climate crisis, debt relief and recovery, optimizing innovations, protections of vulnerable groups and facilitation of youth productivity, promotion of fair trade and investment, transnational organized crimes, pandemics and epidemics, to mention a few. I will also enhance the Commonwealth’s role and broaden its potential as an international organization.

I bring on board technical competencies in the security, development, and humanitarian domains, and are firmly committed to institutional performance. I am convinced that sound management and administration must be matched with top-notch grasp of technical challenges confronting Member States, and is crucial to addressing the emerging, complex and dynamic issues that the Commonwealth is facing. Together with the Member States, it is my intention to provide steadfast leadership and to leverage the Commonwealth’s immense convening power to transform the Commonwealth into a vibrant organization that is responsive to the needs of its Member States; that remains seized of current and future threats that face its membership, and that advances shared interests in the international arena. I will tap into Kenya’s wealth of experience and partnerships as President-in-Office of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), as an outgoing Chair of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), as Chair of the East African Community (EAC) and as an elected member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to foster prosperity, stability and innovative partnerships for the Commonwealth. Believing that I have the expertise, experience, skills and competencies to move the Commonwealth Secretariat to the next level, I seek your support and endorsement, at the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit, to serve at the next Secretary General.

My Approach: Commitment, Connections and Consensus

As Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, I will deploy a three-pronged approach to transform the Commonwealth to a dynamic, responsive and influential organization. The approach will focus on the following thematic priorities aimed at positioning the organization as a competitive and influential player in the international system.


Support preservation of the Commonwealth’s core values and principles among Member States through:

Strengthening the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to deal with political issues in Member States in collaboration with regional stakeholders.

Encouraging shared understanding of the uniqueness and peculiarities of political histories and democratization processes of Member States as manifested during political upheavals, terrorism, and insecurity. To achieve these, the Secretariat will aim at building effective partnerships to counter terrorism and violent extremism affecting Member States. It will also, engage partners to evolve common understanding of what needs to be done to assist Commonwealth countries to deal with challenges arising from conflict in neighboring countries and regions.

Engaging the international community in support of collective action such as the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to ensure access to quality education for all children.

Championing in collaboration with UNWOMEN the role of women and youth in the quest for global peace and security and for prosperity and protection of women and girls.

Deploying innovative approaches to forge strong partnerships within the Commonwealth on the one hand, and between the Commonwealth and other partners across the world. The Secretariat, will collaboratively work with Commonwealth accredited organizations, business, civil society and other multilateral organizations and foster skills, experience, and perspective sharing and exchanges with the Commonwealth.

 Encouraging and working with Member States of the Commonwealth to expedite programmes for sustainable development through boosting intra-Commonwealth trade and investment.  This will include engaging Commonwealth Member States to play an active role in regional initiatives that promote trade among partners and support regional trade initiatives.

Predisposing the Secretariat to support a more agile Commonwealth which is better able to respond and rally support among its Member States in times of crises - such as health emergencies, natural disasters, economic shocks or political upheavals. As an urgent required action, the Secretariat will innovatively work with partners across continents to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines by vulnerable Member States.

Strengthening the Commonwealth advocacy and networks regime to champion sovereign debt restructuring for small and vulnerable states as they seek to recover from the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supporting sustainable initiatives to ameliorate the effects of climate change on Small-Island Developing States members of the Commonwealth who are adversely experiencing the destructiveness of climate change, subsequent receding of coastlines and consequent heightened levels of increased natural disasters.

Safeguarding the role and position of the Commonwealth in building a stronger multilateral global system.

Engaging the international community in finding solutions to today’s challenges to build a common destiny for the Commonwealth Member States.

Engaging the United Nations and its affiliate organizations in support of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) towards the achievement of better standards of living particularly for Least Developed Countries (LDCs). With just less than a decade before 2030, the Secretariat will foster partnerships that will intensify the Commonwealth’s efforts in assisting Member States to achieve the goals.

 Strengthening confidence on the effectiveness of the Secretariat to implement the decisions of the Commonwealth. A package of proposed reforms at the Commonwealth Secretariat, as agreed to by the Foreign Ministers in 2019 awaits endorsement by CHOGM in Kigali. The Secretariat will build on these and the Secretary-General will lead the transformation of the Secretariat while adhering to the principles of transparency, accountability and delivery of service. The Secretariat will coordinate closely with the Chair-in-office and Member States to enhance governance and delivery of service.

Pursuing consensus in the decision-making processes in accordance to the procedures of the Commonwealth.

Strengthening the Secretariat in tandem with the core values and principles of the Commonwealth.

Thank you.


Achieve shared prosperity in the Commonwealth through sustainable development by:


Strengthen the Secretariat to deliver on the decisions of the Commonwealth through: