Museveni seeks greater role for regional blocs, end to monopoly of UN 'Big Five'

Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has called for the restructuring of the United Nations to give sub-regional groupings such as the East African Community (EAC) more say in regional security and peace.
Rwandan troops in a single file before boarding a plane en route to Central Africa for a peace-keeping mission in the past. (File)
Rwandan troops in a single file before boarding a plane en route to Central Africa for a peace-keeping mission in the past. (File)

Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has called for the restructuring of the United Nations to give sub-regional groupings such as the East African Community (EAC) more say in regional security and peace.

Museveni, who was speaking from the UN’s headquarters in New York, delivered a no-holds-barred keynote yesterday during the General Assembly’s high level thematic debate on ‘strengthening cooperation between the UN, and Regional and Sub-Regional Organisation.

President Museveni argued that regional bodies such as the EAC or the African Union at, a continental level, should be mandated to play a deeper role in peace and security as provided for under Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations.

The chapter calls for cooperation between the UN and Regional Organisations in resolving conflicts.

“However, the crucial decisions of international peace and security, within the Security Council, are mostly taken by the veto-wielding members. This is a big mistake and has already caused a lot of harm to Africa, like in the case of Libya where Africa’s opinion was ignored; hence, the present massive human haemorrhage in that area,” said Museveni.

According to the Ugandan leader, if the Security Council members that took military action in Libya had listened to the voice of Africa, the present chaos in Libya, Nigeria, Mali and the people who are dying in the Mediterranean Sea from the African shores trying to get to Europe, could have been avoided.

‘‘It was very presumptuous for the five permanent members to claim that they are responsible for global security.

‘‘Out of the global human population that is now 7 billion people, the 5 permanent members represent only about 1.9 billion people. How and why should they monopolise the “responsibility” for global security? This is a structural deficiency in the architecture for global security,” Museveni said.

Museveni said he wants the establishment of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) as an African owned initiative for rapid military intervention as and when the need arises, to quickly respond to crisis situations on the African continent.

With such a body in place, Museveni noted that it would have been possible to stop the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in which a million people were killed.

“The neighbouring countries could have stopped the Genocide of Rwanda in 1994. We could not do it because the UN was obstructing us,” he said.

Sitting duck

Museveni also criticised UN’s peace-keeping missions, saying that in situations where actual deployment has been taken such as in Eastern DR Congo, the mandate of the mission is often so restricted that they end up with a “sitting duck” mission with troops in a “peace-keeping” role but with no peace to keep.

According to Museveni, what Africa needs is support from international community in terms of funding and equipment so that African governments can do the job themselves.

The President proposed a trinity approach where if a country’s military forces fail to prevail over a situation, regional bodies can intervene with the help of the UN if necessary.

“I refer to this arrangement as the Trinity; that is to say the internal stakeholders, the region and the international community,” Museveni proposed.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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