Africa can now make better decisions, Museveni argues in call for reforms at UN Security Council

President Yoweri Museveni has joined the growing list of world leaders calling for reforms to the United Nations Security Council so as to make it a more inclusive global body.

According to President Museveni, Africa with a population of about 1.4 billion people deserves to have two permanent seats on the UN Security Council with two veto rights and two more non-permanent seats.

“The UN Security Council should have been and must be reformed. This is not a favour by anybody but a right of all peoples that inhabit the planet Earth,” the President told the 9th ministerial level meeting of the African Union Committee of 10 on the reform of the United Nations Security Council at Speke Resort – Munyonyo on 20th January 2022.

The committee of 10 is comprised of Senegal, Uganda, Algeria, Kenya, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Congo, Libya, Namibia and Equatorial Guinea. The committee was appointed by the African Union (AU) to advocate and canvass for the African Common Position on the reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Currently, the Security Council consists of 10 elected members, and five permanent members–China, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and the Russian Federation.

But the Ugandan leader explained that this arrangement that was arrived at in 1945 to limit Africa’s participation in UN matters has been overtaken by events and that the continent is now liberated and ready to make its own decisions.

“The international arrangement that was arrived at in 1945, after the devastating inter-imperialist second World War caused by the greed of the imperialist countries that were vying for colonial possessions, fighting as to who should own us (the Africans and the Asians), having exterminated or enslaved the Indigenous peoples of the Americas and Australia and New-Zealand, was temporary because many of us were not in position to make our own decisions,” Mr Museveni said.

“By both peaceful and violent methods, the countries of Asia and Africa, are now free.  It is, therefore, a circus to waste time, year after year, debating the obvious.  We demand our right of having permanent seats, not the seasonal ones allotted to us by the present unfair system, on the UN Security Council,” he added.

The President admitted that while Africa is still encumbered by internal challenges such as sectarianism and civil wars, these can be overcome if African countries work together.

“Here in Uganda, we have been battling against those internal weaknesses by relying on the 4 principles of: patriotism (down with sectarianism and loving Uganda), Pan-Africanism (loving East Africa, loving Africa and working for their integration), social-economic transformation and democracy.  With these principles, we have been able to create a chapter of some capacity. Similar chapters exist and have existed in Africa since Independence,” he said.

He added that permanent membership of African countries on the UN Security Council would help to end this.

“The membership of African countries on a permanent basis would stop these mistakes. How and who should be the members of this body? It is already known that Africa should have two members of the Security Council on a permanent basis, elected may be every four years by the African Union on a rotational regional basis.  This would mean that for four years, we would have one country for North Africa and one country for West Africa.  Then, for the next four years’ cycle, we would have one country from Central Africa and one country from Southern Africa.  Then, in the next four years’ cycle, we would have a country from Eastern Africa and another turn for a different country from North Africa,” he explained.

“These countries, would go to that Security Council as our delegates.  They should only take the positions given to them by the African Union, not their own individual positions. If we had such arrangements, mistakes like what happened in Libya, would not have happened. Trying to use the size of the economy, etc., is not correct,” he added.

The President urged his fellow African leaders to continue pushing for this cause.

“The present chaos in some African countries, can be solved if the different chapters are able to act together. There is no adversary that we cannot defeat on the African continent if we act together. By strengthening ourselves here in Africa, the outsiders will more easily accept not to interfere with our rights.

We must be in that Security Council to ensure that it is not used negatively against Africa and that it is, instead, used positively for Africa and the rest of the World,” he added.

For the last 29 years, there have been considerations of reforms at different levels. But arguments are that there is lack of political will to “prioritize and normalize the intergovernmental negotiations process.  

Mr Museveni’s call comes just months since November last year when several contributors to the UN General Assembly debated reform at the Security Council. Speaker after speaker called for urgent action in the face of multiple global challenges.

During the debate last year advocates called for expansion of Council membership in both permanent and non-permanent categories.

Other arguments were to the effect that the lack of African representation was historically unjust and more so affects the Council’s ability to properly address matters of peace and security on the continent.

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