Source: Mugabe engages France over UNSC seat – DailyNews Live January 18, 2017
Gift Phiri, News Editor
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe has engaged France’s leader, Francois
Hollande, to intervene in calls to include one of Africa’s 54 States in
the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
Mugabe – currently on a month-long leave – tabled the request last weekend
during a closed-door meeting with Hollande at the two-day 27th edition of
the French Africa-Summit in Bamako, Mali, according to State TV. Earlier
in his speech to the summit, Mugabe pressed France – one of the five
permanent members of the UNSC – to ensure the continent secures the seat.
Set up in 1946 by the winners of the World War II, the UNSC comprises of
15 members, five of them – Britain, France, China, the United States and
Russia – permanent while 10 are non-permanent, serving for two years on a
“We welcome France’s position on the UNSC reform, which supports the
expansion of both permanent and non-permanent seats and takes into
consideration the need to address the injustice felt by African
countries,” Mugabe told the 35 heads of State who attended the summit.
“Nevertheless, we call for progress in the long-running negotiations on
this critical issue. Let me reiterate that the African position, which is
contained in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, remains
unchanged since its reaffirmation at the last African Union (AU) Summit in
Kigali,” he said.
The Ezulwini Consensus, adopted by Sadc leaders in Swaziland in 2005,
states that Africa demands at least two permanent seats – including veto
power – and five non-permanent seats in the Security Council, with the AU
choosing which countries would get the seats.
The Security Council is the UN’s most powerful body and helps shape
international law. But critics said it represents an international order
that no longer exists – that of France, UK, US, China and Russia as world
In September last year, Mugabe told thousands of Zanu PF supporters that
he would mobilise other African countries to pull out of the UN in protest
over the body’s alleged refusal to reform the Security Council.
The 92-year-old leader said Africa would form a splinter group headed by
China and Russia if the Security Council remained unchanged at next year’s
general assembly summit.
Stephen Chan, a professor of world politics at the School of Oriental and
African Studies at the University of London told the Daily News: “. . .
The world is facing urgent problems which the current balance of power
cannot properly address. No one wants to enlarge or alter that balance of
power. As for Hollande, he is a lame-duck president, he is interested only
in Francophonic Africa and the two candidates for a Security Council
permanent seat are not Francophonic. They are Nigeria and South Africa,
but neither of them is looking like a mature world power right now.
Basically, this just isn’t going to happen,” he added.
An observer, Takura Zhangazha said while Mugabe’s intentions were noble as
the current UN structure was out-dated and definitely not reflective of
the current world order, his campaign will fail given his tainted image
and that most superpowers are not ready to open up and allow Africa to
have veto power in the Security Council.