Thursday, April 23, 2015

President Mugabe Calls for United Nations Reform
Hasyim Widhiarto,
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Asia Africa Conference
Thu, April 23 2015, 12:50 PM

Still going strong: Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe (photo) heads to the Plenary Session of the Asian-African Conference Commemoration 2015 at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta on Wednesday. Mugabe, 91, is the chairman of both the African Union and the Southern African Development Community.

Speaking in his capacity as Zimbabwean president and chairman of the African Union, Robert Mugabe has called on his Asian and African counterparts to join hands in reforming the UN Security Council to fight against the political domination of the five permanent members of the UN body.

Delivering a speech at the Asia-Africa summit on Wednesday in Jakarta, the independence hero said that despite their collective “formidable force”, Asian and African countries had remained insignificant when it came to the running and control of the multilateral system.

“In the UN, the voice of the five prominent members of the Security Council carries more weight than that of the rest of us, the majority,” the 91-year-old leader said.

Mugabe has extensive experience with the UN. Born on Feb. 21, 1924, in Kutama, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), he led his nation in its struggles against British colonial rule.

Mugabe, who continued to lead his nation after it gained independence in 1980 and has been reelected to the presidency seven times, said Asia and Africa must unite to ensure that a proposal for UN reform could move forward.

 “Our calls for reform of the Security Council have yielded nothing so far. We must remobilize for success,” he said.

 “One of the essential ingredients in doing so will be the strengthening of our unity in continuing to fight for a UN that recognizes all its members as equal partners, not only in terms of the charter, but more crucially in practice.”

Zimbabwe, a once-prosperous nation in southern Africa, has struggled since Mugabe’s government began seizing white-owned farms in 2000. The country suffered hyperinflation until it abandoned its currency for the US dollar in 2009.

Mugabe, who has been ruling Zimbabwe since 1980, has also been subject to accusations of various human rights abuses. Despite his notorious track record, Mugabe was appointed chairman of the 54-nation African Union earlier this year during the organization’s heads of state summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

During the two-day Asia-Africa summit, held as a part of the 60th Asian-African Conference Commemoration (AACC) events, Mugabe serves as co-chair, a position that gave him the opportunity to deliver his remarks after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

 In his opening speech, President Jokowi also highlighted the importance of UN reform, referring to his concern over worsening global inequality.

“When a group of rich countries think that they can change the world by the use of force, then global inequality clearly brings about misery, in which the UN looks helpless,” he said.

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