ZIMBABWEANS have expressed outrage and scorn at threats by President Robert Mugabe to trigger a United Nations (UN) pull out by African states whose demands for two permanent Security Council seats have largely been resisted by western countries.
Addressing Zanu PF supporters soon after touching down from the UN General Assembly in New York, Mugabe said this was in line with sentiments expressed by like-minded African countries which feel the current composition of the UN Security Council was unfair to Africa.
African countries want two permanent seats in the Security Council and five non-permanent ones.
Mugabe, who has led calls for reforms, said Saturday most of his African peers, whose countries depend on western benevolence, were too timid to join his demands for the changes.
Like-minded Africans feel Western countries have abused their positions in the influential body to bully other less powerful world countries into following their own selfish agendas.
After the pull out, Mugabe said, rebel states would form a breakaway body alongside China and Russia, the two UN permanent members who have found themselves constantly called to veto some UN Security Council decisions for military interventions in certain world territories.
But political leaders and civic group activists in Zimbabwe have warned any UN pull out will have dire consequences for a country that has relied on the multi-lateral body for technical, humanitarian and fiscal support.
Leading the assail was former finance minister and now PDP leader Tendai Biti who said Mugabe was delusional.
“He is delusional. No sane African country will pull out of the UN,” Biti told NewZimbabwe.com on Sunday.
“The UN is part of global infrastructure that has basically prevented a global war from happening for over 70.The UN has been key in the execution of international law and global diplomacy that has kept the world as safe as possible.
“So, for dictators like Robert Mugabe to suggest that you can dismantle the UN because you are unhappy with the composition of the security council is absolutely insane and this is a man who ironically has been in power for 36 years denying Zimbabweans a voice which he is now demanding from the UN security council, it’s absurd.”
“The UNDP, UNICEF, UNAIDS, part of the UN offshoot, WHO all have serious roles in Zimbabwe.”
ZimPF spokesperson Jealous Mawarire said by purporting to be speaking for “cowardly” African leaders, Mugabe was unnecessarily overstating his influence in Africa.
“Mugabe is not the spokesperson for AU; he is no longer the chairman. On whose behalf is he speaking?” Mawarire said.
“We have seen over the years Mugabe posturing and displaying this kind of bravado each time he goes to the UN and it has never changed our situation as a country and I don’t think he is a legitimate voice to drag the whole of Africa into his personal battles with the west.”
Civil Society activist and former NANGO spokesperson Fambayi Ngirande said a UN pullout would be retrogressive for Zimbabwe which stands to lose out on aid and the benchmarks placed by the multilateral institution in efforts to bring global development.
“Any pull out means we can forget initiatives such as sustainable development goals, it also means a decline in development assistance coming to Zimbabwe, we also stand to lose the benefits of being part of established norms and standards particularly around human rights because the UN has been in many ways, underwriter of the world human rights framework.”
Former education minister David Coltart, who during his tenure presided over a lot of assistance channelled to his ministry through Unicef, also slammed Mugabe for threatening another pull out, more than a decade since he led his country out of the Common Wealth.
“Zim’s pull out of the Commonwealth, SADC Tribunal & the trashing of the ICC shows one should never underestimate his destructive capacity,” tweeted Coltart.
Media businessman Trevor Ncube said Mugabe, at 92, should not be at the forefront of determining a future for the younger Zimbabweans generations.
“A 92 year old wanting to commit a whole continent to a blunder whose consequences he won’t live with,” he also commented through twitter.
By being a UN member, Zimbabwe has benefitted loans from UN agencies such as IMF and the World Bank.
The country, which has been devastated by myriad man-made and natural disasters has also seen the UN, through its health agencies extend crucial humanitarian assistance the most memorable being support to end the 2008-09 cholera outbreak which claimed 4,000 lives and left over a hundred thousand more needing treatment for the disease.
The UN has also provided development support through infrastructure and technical support the country in the area of finance and policy formulation, among others.
Mugabe’s comments came two months after the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee Rural Livelihood Assessment established that the number of food- insecure people in Zimbabwe would increase to over 4 million during early next year.
The third Multi-Stakeholder Consultative meeting held in July was, ironically, jointly hosted by the Office of the President and Cabinet and the UN System in Zimbabwe.
Source : New Zimbabwe