Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni, while meeting in Kampala, the AU’s committee that is championing Africa’s representation on the UNSC of which Uganda is one, recently, demanded for the reformation of the UN Security Council.
The most tantalizing question here is “what if African representation on the UNSC is granted, would the permanent members lose their badge of honour?” Certainly not. What the president and other Africans are yearning for is: Let the bumptious permanent members of the UNSC whose individual decisions affect our collective whole situate rationality before geopolitics. In a “one size fits all” stance, the US, UK, France, Russia and China -all of them nuclear-weaponized, represent three continents on the council namely North America, Europe and Eurasia/Asia respectively; that renders Africa, South America and Australia unrepresented!
That unrepeatable configuration was shoved down our throats after “world war II.” Its persistence for this long is attributable to, particularly, the lack of cohesion amongst Africa’s leaders and the recalcitrant and immutable UNSC members. And, therefore, when Africa’s finest leaders, among them Yoweri Museveni, articulate passionately against that injustice, they should be unreservedly supported to create that requisite bigger tool box for this noble pursuit. Although those responsible for committing that inequity against us won’t recant in the short run they will in the long run since they’re teetering on the brink of failure.
To bring Ugandans to speed, all permanent members of the UNSC have vetoing powers over that body’s decisions. The rest of pack, 10 in number and rotational/non-permanent members, are elected by the General Assembly for two -year terms and have neither vetoing power nor voting rights whence rendering them rubber-stamps.
That self-arrogation of power by those immutable members partly allows them to dominate the globe minus being quizzed. Interestingly, sponsoring motions in the UNSC is another arduous hurdle usually punctuated with intense lobbying and resource spending that many small countries can’t afford!
As this reform debate rages on, the current global social-economic and political realities will only be justly served when and how that membership is restructured as well as making the rules of procedure fairer. UNSC decisions require nine yes votes; a terrible lacuna, for instance, if the entire pack of permanent members connived with some four unsuspecting non-permanent members or worse still, if three over-reaching permanent members coerced six gullible developing countries into supporting their unpopular position and a single permanent member abstains, a bad decision ensues. The UNSC has, in its current form and composition, had its fair share of gaffes; in the case of, for instance, Resolution 912; “The Genocide Rescue Brigade,” as mass killings were unleashed in Rwanda in 1994, the UNSC wanted the under-pinned UN peacekeeping force scaled down. The all-powerful US permitted then SG Boutros Boutros-Ghali to determine the size and mandate of the mission with undertones of reducing it. Eight days later, the SG appealed for its expansion since its size was incredibly insufficient. The US blocked that expansion and the massacres continued unabated! There are several other ill-conceived, pointless or just plainly bad resolutions adopted by that New York-based club due to power abuse that can ably be checked through reforming the UNSC.
Essentially, most motions are sponsored by the powerful and the US has additional advantages over the rest of the pack because one, it headquarters the UN and simultaneously the UNSC. Two, the US is the biggest sponsor of UN activities. The day when all of us stumble on these realities and vehemently support leaders like President Museveni in our urgent quest to have that “animal” – the UNSC, reformed, Africans will move a notch higher in terms of global visibility.
Surprisingly, former President D.J. Trump, who many ill-advised Africans hated with a passion, except me, spoke of reforming the UN when his administration still lasted. His successors went mum about the matter because theirs has been amassing power to themselves both at home and at the UN.
Ambassador Henry Mayega
Deputy Head of Mission
Abu Dhabi, UAE