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President Museveni’s Speech at the 9th Ministerial-level Meeting for the AU Committee of Ten on Reform of UN Security Council- Verbatim

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President Museveni’s Speech at the 9th Ministerial-level Meeting for the AU Committee of Ten on Reform of UN Security Council- Verbatim

Honorable Ministers,

Officials,

Ladies and gentlemen.

I welcome you, the Foreign Ministers of the brother African countries of the Committee of 10 for the reform of the UN Security Council to your brother country, Uganda.

In order to inform your brother people of Uganda who may be listening or watching this function, the committee of 10 is comprised of the following brother African countries: Senegal, Uganda, Algeria, Kenya, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Congo, Libya, Namibia, and Equatorial Guinea.

In March 2005, the African Union (AU) appointed members of the Committee of Ten Heads of State and Government (C-10) with the mandate to advocate and canvass for the African Common Position on the reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Indeed, a consensus was reached at Ezulwini in Swaziland (Kingdom of Eswatini), where the brother African countries on the Committee agreed as follows:

1.      To promote Africa to be fully represented in all UN organs, specifically the United Nations Security Council;

2.      To have two permanent seats with two veto rights and two more non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council, as Africa’s legitimate right and aspiration to correct the historical injustices endured by the continent;

3.      That the African Union (AU) shall be responsible for the selection of African representatives to the UN Security Council.

These were very good principles and there is no useful reason as to why they should be altered or diluted.  The UN Security Council should have been and must be reformed. This is not a favor by anybody but a right of all peoples that inhabit the planet earth.

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. 

The Asians and the Africans were in colonial bondage, although we had been used to fight and die in those other people’s wars of the Imperialists ─ the first and the second World Wars.  In the two World Wars, more than 3.5million Africans and 6.5million Asians (Indians, etc.), were used in fighting those wars, which were not their wars.  Yet, no thought was given to how they would participate in international decision-making. Was the assumption that we would never be free?

If that was the assumption, then the assumers were wrong. By both peaceful and violent methods, the countries of Asia and Africa, are now free.  Even the indigenous peoples of the Americas, Australia, New- Zealand that survived extermination, are also beginning to assert themselves as we have seen in countries like Bolivia, etc.  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.

Every reasonable man, as the lawyers say, I do not want to bother myself talking of fair-minded man, should see that the 1.4billion Africans that will be 2.5billions in the next 29 years and billions of Asians, the formerly colonized peoples, cannot be kept out of that UN Security Council on terms similar to the present five (USA, China, Russian, Britain, France) that monopolize that body.

There are only a few factors that are delaying that process.  Two of them are on our side, the Africans that, have decided to maintain weakness in Africa even after the decolonization of our continent that started with the Independence of the Sudan in 1955. 

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.  That is how, for instance, countries like Tanzania under Mwalimu Nyerere, Zambia under Mzee Kaunda, Botswana under Mzee Khama, Algeria under Bounedienne, Egypt under Nasser, and Guinea-Conakry under Seku-Toure, were able to support the anti-colonial armed struggle that defeated Portuguese colonialism in Mozambique, Angola, Guinnea-Bissau and Sao Tome, the Ian Smith regime in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia as they were calling it), Namibia and racist South Africa, working with the African Liberation Movements of those countries.  This means, that the potential is there if we act right and together.

The problem of Idi Amin and such other problems were similarly solved by the African actors. 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. 

When has the UN system been misused to commit aggression against Africa? I can, straight away, quote two cases: the murder of Patrice Lumumba in 1961 and the attack on Libya. How much chaos have these two mistakes caused in Africa?  Who is answerable for these two mistakes? 

The attack on Libya, for instance, is definitely behind the chaos in Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, etc. Congo has been in successive problems in the last 60 years.

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 maybe 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. 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. 

Germany’s economy is now bigger than either the economy of the UK or France. What should we do now?  Should we remove those countries from the UN Security Council or what?

Finally, it is time to bring to the high table the defeated belligerents of the 2nd World War ─ Germany and Japan.  Why?  We want reconciliation and to forget past mistakes. Why do you continue to punish a student of imperialism and aggression when you have never punished the teacher ─ the actual imperialist countries as per (1900). 

The position of Germany and Japan was a question: “Why should UK, France, Portugal, Belgium, etc. have colonies and we do not have, yet we are now powerful countries?”  It was also the shallowness and refusal of our Chiefs to change that created the internal weaknesses that lured the wicked.

It is, therefore, high time we forget all the mistakes of the past and have a new dispensation of equality and security.

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