OPINION: Africa needs a permanent seat on the UN Security Council too!

Opinions -->

We wholeheartedly share NUP leader Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu’s concerns about human rights in Uganda, (re Nile Post, 17th March 2022).

However, we are uneasy about his call to the visiting US Acting Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, Lisa Peterson, to help him isolate Museveni, the president of Uganda nonetheless, regardless of the controversy over his election in 2021.

Here are the reasons for our unease:

Firstly, under Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter, “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

Therefore, the US would be blatantly breaching one of the cardinal rules of the UN, if it were to positively respond to Mr Kyagulanyi Ssentamu’s invitation, assuming they have the inclination to do so.

Granted, the US-Africa Command is keeping a 24/7 constant gaze on Uganda and the rest of Africa from the ground, air, sea and space. Full spectrum coverage, it is called.

But we very much doubt the US or any other western power has the appetite to get involved in the politics of yet another African country after the distrous intervention in Libya.

In any case, the US has its own interests, which may not rhyme with Kyagulanyi Ssentamu’s. Some of those interests are served by instigating instability, while others are served by mainlining the status quo and its semblance of stability.

Secondly, we enthusiastically agree with former Bush war hero General Eli Tumwine, who has advised Museveni to “prepare for a smooth transfer of power” (Nile Post, 25th June 2021).

But, if asked what our priority would be, isolating and pushing out Museveni, or reforming the United Nations and giving Africa a permanent seat at Security Council, we would without hesitation go for the latter.

This is because the present Security Council, self-appointed in 1946, is no longer fit for the 2022 purposes. These purposes are underpinned by rules-based systems and democratic principles, now selectively applied by the present Security Council.

Africa is not only geographically three times as large as the USA; it is almost four times more populous than the USA. Yet, unlike the smaller USA, Africa does not, and has never had a permanent seat in the Council’s 78-year long history.

Lest we forget, Ethiopia, one of the founder members of the UN was unaccountably excluded from permanent Security Council membership.

The only distinguishing factors are that the five permanent member countries are all white and nuclear-armed.

What is democratic about that, a white minority group making executive decisions affecting Africa, including imposing crippling sanctions and authorising the use of force under Chapter V11?

Moreover, three of the five self-appointed Council members, Britain, France and the USA are lecturing Africa and most of the developing world about democracy.

This has adversely affected Africa politically, economically and in terms of security.

Worse still, instead of fulfilling their Charter obligation to maintain international peace and security, the present permanent members have become leaders in wreaking havoc on the world.

First, they went to Iraq without UN authorisation in 2003.

Then they turned on Libya in 2011.

Now Russia, another Permanent member, is invading Ukraine.

They could come for Uganda next, if some of opposition members get their way; thus turning this Pearl of Africa into a river of blood and ashes, the like of which we have never seen in our bloody history?

If Ms Lisa Peterson and the US administration care so much about democracy, they should support the persistent calls by the African Union to democratise the Security Council.

That means giving Africa a permanent seat at the Security Council.

We cannot say loudly enough how Africa, as a permanent Council member, will   veto the undemocratic decisions, many of which have and will continue to disadvantage the continent for decades to come.

Anyone out there listening?

Reader's Comments