Take Africa seriously and reform the UN Security Council

In 2005, Africa foreign ministers met in Ezulwini, Swaziland, and agreed on a united position calling for a voice within the United Nations, especially its highest decision-making body, the Security Council.

The African countries wanted to have two permanent seats in the UN’s Security Council and five non-permanent seats for African countries. Despite initially calling for the removal of the veto powers from permanent Security Council members, the African countries also decided that their two permanent members should also be accorded veto powers.

African countries also decided that the decision as to who represents the continent on the UN Security Council should be made by the African Union.

This became known as the Ezulwini Consensus. Russia, Britain, China, France and the United States of America are currently the five permanent members of the Security Council with the power to veto resolutions. The other 10 are non-permanent members.

The consensus also called on work to be done regarding the threats of HIV and Aids, poverty and environmental degradation facing the continent, calling for the West to write off African debt, doing away with coup d’états and changing governments through unconstitutional means.

They also called for an end to illicit manufacturing, trade, and stockpiling of small arms and light weapons.

In 2017, about 12 years later, African leaders are still calling for the same UN reforms, especially the restructuring of the UN Security Council.

During last week’s UN General Assembly, more than seven African, including southern Africa, heads of state and government called for the reforms again.

The message was clear that the UN should reform or risk becoming irrelevant.

Some called the UN “old-fashioned and undemocratic”.

From a layman’s perspective this is Africa’s dream deferred.

The fact that the African leaders calls have been ignored for longer than a decade is proof enough that either Africans are not welcome to the UN or the world’s peace custodian is not concerned about the lives and aspirations of the African people.

Since the establishment of the UN, Africa has been subjected to atrocities against humanity and a significant number of such inhuman acts have either been perpetuated directly or indirectly by permanent members of the UN Security Council.

It is unclear what else Africans should do to get their fair share of the right to get a “seat at the table”.

For how long should Africans continue depending on the crumbs coming from the “Masters’ table?” We call on the UN to stop behaving like an exclusive country club (as the Americans would call it) and start addressing the interests of all its members.

We believe that it is now time for the UN to address the Africans’ plea before Africans find their own means of solving problems outside of the UN’s realm.

After all, any system or institution that discriminates a section of a particular population is a bad system and should have no legitimacy over such a population.

It is criminal that African leaders have been reduced, by the so-called world leaders, to beggars for over a decade for something that their people are entitled to in the first place.

The rules of fairness and natural justice would dictate that all at the UN are equal and should be accorded the same rights and privileges.

All we are calling for is for Africa to intensify the calls for these reforms and for all those in the same position as Africa in the world to unite and demand what is owed to their citizens.

The notion of the UN and the super powers assuming it is enough to just provide Africans with aid and developmental projects does not fly in 2017.

This notion does not fly with the millennial generation who want a fair chance to represent their countries’ aspirations on the world stage.

This notion does not fly with this generation who also want to participate in the international economy and to no longer be subjected to begging, destitution and basket case status.

After all it was our stolen natural resources which ensured that they are now super powers.

October 2017
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