Saturday, September 29, 2018

Editorial Comment: Time the World Recognizes Africa’s Worth
28 SEP, 2018 - 00:09
Zimbabwe Herald

First impressions matter and they can sway opinions positively and/or negatively. When President Mnangagwa made his maiden address at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, impressions were made and opinions formulated.

The Zimbabwean leader proved that he is his own man, who has a deep-seated passion about his vision of transforming the Zimbabwean landscape: economically, technologically, socially, culturally and politically.

Being the workaholic he is, the many engagements that President Mnangagwa has been involved in, most of them on the sidelines of UNGA73 showed that he went to New York with his hands already on the deck.

Using the law of repetition, he spread the word through the media and among his peers attending the UN General Assembly that “Zimbabwe is open for business,” and they are welcome to travel this exciting journey with Zimbabwe.

The interviews he had with giant media houses such as CNN and Bloomberg cannot be detached from his tribute to Nelson Mandela at the Peace Summit and his address at the UN General Assembly.

Putting the pieces together, you can only come up with one conclusion: Zimbabwe is out of the woods and ready to be an active member of the community of nations, which needs to be given time to prove itself.

Even Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who is also the rotating chairperson of the African Union acknowledged to the General Assembly the progress made by Zimbabwe, saying that it needs the support of the UN family to deal with economic challenges.

From another perspective, UNGA73 can be described as the General Assembly that also honoured Africa’s sons.

Apart from the larger than life Mandela Peace Summit, leaders also paid tribute to the late seventh Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari telling the General Assembly, “Kofi’s significant contributions to the work of our Organisation have been acknowledged in the well-deserved tributes that poured in from around the world following his death.

“We in Africa, while mourning the loss of this great son of ours and citizen of the world, take pride in the way he served humanity in a truly exemplary manner. He demonstrated, in his calm, but determined manner, the virtues of compassion, dedication to the cause of justice, fairness and human rights.

“He was a visionary leader who inspired hope even in the face of the most daunting challenges. He devoted his entire life’s career to the UN and the pursuit of its ideals and goals. The world is indeed a better place thanks to his exemplary service.”

Notwithstanding, Africa still has some unanswered questions regarding the governance of the world body, especially the highest decision-making body — the United Nations Security Council.

For how long will it remain an exclusive club of 15 nations and, for the five permanent members with veto power, was this cast in stone?

The African Union spelt out its position on reforms they want to see in the global body, especially in the UNSC through the Ezulwini Consensus, but very little has been done?

Presidents Mnangagwa, Peter Mutharika of Malawi, Kagame, Buhari and others, voiced their concerns at the slow pace of the democratisation of the global body.

Said the Zimbabwean leader, “The United Nations and its organs require to be democratised. We join the call for Africa to be represented in the permanent category and to have increased representation in the non-permanent category.

“This position is indeed justified, in view of the need to correct the historical injustice which has left the African continent on the periphery of all major global decision-making processes.”

President Kagame also said, “The current two-track system of governance where some players are more important than others is not sustainable.”

And, President Mutharika called on the UN “to expedite the debate on the Security Council reforms. We call upon the UN to accommodate African representation through two permanent seats in the UN Security Council.”

The Nigerian leader called for the “reconstitution of the (UN Security) Council to make it more equitable and more representative of our global community is both a political and moral imperative”.

Africa’s population is more than a billion now, while its natural resources make the world rich.

How many of its leaders should depart the world stage, before its calls for reform of the UN are taken seriously and implemented? If we are embracing multilateralism, why should unilateralism be accommodated in the UN governance system?

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