Uganda’s foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa has assumed office as president of the 69th UN General Assembly. He was unanimously elected president of the General Assembly on June 11, taking over from John Ashe.
By Taddeo Bwambale
Uganda’s foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa assumed office as president of the 69th UN General Assembly Tuesday Setpember 16. He was unanimously elected president of the General Assembly on June 11, taking over from John Ashe.
According to a brief from Uganda’s mission in New York, Ashe performed a symbolic handover of a gavel to Kutesa, who then opened and presided over the 69th session of the Assembly.
Kutesa takes over the leadership of the 193-member states body and becomes the first Ugandan national to hold the prestigious UN position.
He will preside over the General Assembly for a oneyear period, for which he has chosen the theme “Delivering on and implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda.”
Kutesa has outlined the priorities during his tenure to include the formulation of a post-2015 development agenda, women empowerment and gender equality as well as climate change.
He has also pledged to focus on revitalising the General Assembly and reform of the Security Council, enhancing co-operation between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organisations, promoting peace-building and enhancement of the alliance of civilisations.
Kutesa is expected to preside over key events during the General Assembly that include the World Conference of Indigenous People and the International Conference on Population and Development on September 22, the UN Climate Change Summit on September 23 and the UN General Debate on September 24.
In his acceptance speech, shortly after he was elected, Kutesa pledged to be accessible, transparent, fair and balanced. The foreign affairs ministry, in a statement, said Kutesa’s election to the UN was “a clear testimony of the
continued confidence and trust the entire Africa and the world has in Uganda for her positive role and contribution towards the UN’s 52 years.”
“The ministry is confident that Kutesa will keep the African candle burning to unite the entire world on issues that affect humanity,” the statement reads.
Kutesa was born on February 1, 1949, in Sembabule, where his family was renowned in religious circles. His father is said to have traversed most parts of Africa, preaching the word of God.
Kutesa is the 12th person from Africa to
serve as President of the UN General Assembly since 1964. The last person from Africa was Ali Treki from Libya, who occupied the position in 2009.
Kutesa takes over UN office