AS the United Nations Organisation prepares to mark 70 years since its inception, President Yoweri Museveni has called for its restructuring
By Moses Walubiri
- Scroll to bottom for President Museveni's speech in full
AS the United Nations Organisation prepares to mark 70 years since its inception, President Yoweri Museveni has called for its restructuring, including respecting and augmenting regional peace efforts.
“We need to adopt the policy of complementarity as the basis of strengthening the UN. The UN needs to respect policies taken by regional organisations in matters of conflict resolution,” he said.
Museveni made the remarks on Monday during his keynote address to the United Nations High Level Thematic Debate on Strengthening Co-operation between the United Nations and regional organisations in the maintenance of peace, security, human rights and development in their respective areas.
The debate was presided over by the UN General Assembly president, Sam Kutesa. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, attended and made the introductory remarks.
President Museveni greets UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. PPU Photo
In his address that was intermittently telecast live by Uganda Broadcasting Corporation, Museveni, while highlighting the spirit that led to the formation of the UN in 1945, said undermining regional peace efforts runs counter to the core missions of the world body.
Citing the example of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the raging conflict in South Sudan, Museveni rooted for “African solutions to African problems”. He said dynamics that give rise to African conflicts cannot be comprehended by foreign powers however intelligent.
To Museveni, African problems will not be solved by “last-minute, high-handed interventions”, which he said “are injurious” to populations ravaged by conflicts.
“The UN should not be quick to criticise, impose sanctions and refer issues to the International Criminal Court without consulting regional organisations. Where the UN has worked with regional organisations like in the case of Burundi and Somalia, the results have been good,” Museveni added.
He took a thinly veiled jab at a host of UN peacekeeping missions and the hurdles that have been put in the way of regional organisations to expeditiously deploy forces in conflicts capable of degenerating into genocides.
“The UN is still debating the conflict in South Sudan that started in December 2013. If we had not deployed quickly, that conflict could have resulted in genocide,” Museveni averred.
He contended that regional organisations can keep the peace if empowered.
“Just fund and give equipment to regional organisations so that we do the job ourselves,” Museveni said, attributing the failure of some African countries to guarantee peace in their own backyards to the lingering effects of colonialism.
However, to achieve the changes required at the UN, Museveni echoed the view of the African leaders for the continent to get a permanent membership in the UN Security Council.
“Uganda strongly believes that for genuine co-operation to occur between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations, reform of the UN in general, the Security Council in particular, is imperative,” Museveni said.
The UN Security Council, which includes the ‘permanent big five’ – US, Russia, China, France and Britain and 10 non-permanent members – is the highest decision making body. The five permanent members have powers to veto decisions sanctioned by the General Assembly.
“Out of the global human population that is now seven billion people, the five permanent members represent only about 1.9 billion people. How and why should they monopolise the ‘responsibility’ for global security?” Museveni wondered.
“Reforming the UN is vital,” Museveni said, decrying the current structure which he said is used to “foster the narrow interests of super powers”.
The UN was conceived in the smouldering rubble of World War II with a mission of saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war.
Museveni calls for UN restructuring