The biggest threat to multilateralism, is the inability of our global leaders, to ensure that rules they put in place are correctly enforced, to the benefit of citizens they lead.
Recent global developments made sad reading to say the least. It is apparent that our leaders are so divorced, from our day to day realities and aspirations, as citizens of the world.
I will take two events that offered our global leadership the rare opportunity of resolving catastrophe’s bedeviling two of Africa’s black spots, that prick on our consciences on a daily basis - Sudan and Zimbabwe.
On Wednesday, the five bodies of the members of the Rwanda Defense Forces killed last week, while serving under the Joint UN – African Union peacekeeping force,(UNAMID) in Darfur; arrived at Kigali International Airport, in what was described as a sad event, at which grief stricken relatives, came to receive their sons’ bodies.
The families have lost their beloved ones to a crisis the world with all the will can resolve – instead a solution is compromised by their continued bickering.
Just days after the RDF officials were killed in an ambush in the troubled Darfur area; our world leaders failed to take advantage of the two opportunities that presented themselves, for unity and agreement on lasting solutions to the grave situations in Zimbabwe and Sudan.
First we had the failure by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC); to agree on sanctions against Zimbabwe, after a veto by China and Russia, apparently at South-Africa’s bidding.
Then the subsequent announcement, by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), that Sudan’s, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, will now at last be charged with, crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Darfur region.
A sad dichotomy emerges,(cold war era type), among the players what ever their reasons for or against action may be.
In response to the ICC’s action, speaking from the United Nations Head-Quarters, in New-York, South Africa’s Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, is quoted as having said, “the search for justice should not jeopardize the other priorities in Sudan.”
One may ask what other priorities apart from those to do with justice can ever be more important for the people of the Darfur region?
Sentiments later reiterated by China, through its Darfur envoy, Liu Guijin, “the United Nations is using these different measures, and it should ensure its own priorities, and the use of one measure should not undermine the other measures,” Liu told a small group of reporters.
“Don’t send wrong or chaotic signals,” he warned. The dilemma for citizens in distress is that they seek quick solutions or reprieve from the international bodies.
Take for instance that just this week Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank Governor, announced that inflation was at a staggering, 2.2 million percent, though more reliable economists put the figure at 15 million percent, the highest ever recorded in human history, even worse than what prevailed in pre-Hitler Weimar Germany.
Take away the recent violence that has claimed over a hundred lives; scores that have been tortured; or those displaced internally, with many more fleeing into the region. Just that figure of inflation should raise alarm, it simply says Zimbabweans are suffering under the worst economic crisis in the world.
Furthermore, a situation that is compounded by fresh evidence of the notorious, Genocidaire, Interahamwe, presence in Zimbabwe; now surely this should send shock waves in the global corridors of power, as it did here in Rwanda amongst those who suffered great pain at the hands of these bandits.
Given the back-ground of the Great Lakes region is still in a very volatile situation right now, while peace in Burundi is slowly taking shape, with parts of the DRC still at war, amid reports of a grave regional humanitarian crisis. Can the continent afford any more conflicts?
The last thing anyone needs is for this conflict to spill into the relatively stable, SADC region, through Zimbabwe, given that those with mineral interests in the DRC are the top military officials also operating in the Joint Operations Command (JOC), responsible for the current mayhem.
Those connected to the Interahamwe, and have been named in the widespread looting of the DRC are the current Chair-person of the of JOC, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and Air-Force Commander Perence Shiri.
These people are known, just as much as those causing problems in Sudan are known, surely an agreement on collective action against these will not hurt.
For South-Africa one proposal made is for its companies to stop doing business with Harare; ventures that by the way that do not benefit any of the struggling Zimbabwean citizens.
Take the USD400 million AngloPlats investment in Zimbabwe, amongst others, and then the role for instance Amscor played in the transfer of the Chinese arms to Zimbabwe.
Hence the need for a united front against the continued tyranny in Zimbabwe and Sudan is essential if faith is to be restored in our international institutions.