Zimbabwe’s main opposition and some citizens Monday condemned President Robert Mugabe’s call for Africa to quit the United Nations. During the weekend the 91-year-old said if the continent was not given at least one spot as a permanent member of the U. N. Security Council, AU members would pull out of the world body.
While handing over the rotating AU chairmanship, Mugabe said Africa would withdraw “one of these days” if there were no reforms of the U.N. Security Council, which has no permanent members from Africa.
He directed his statement Saturday to U. N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who was attending the African Union summit in Ethiopia,
“We will fight for our own identity, for our own integrity and personality as Africans,” said Mugabe. “Others are real members of it. We are artificial members of it. We can not continue to be artificial members of it. How can only a handful of people [control the U.N. Security Council]? In fact, there is only America and the Europeans. If the United Nations is to survive we must be equal members of it.”
Mugabe neglected to mention China’s permanent membership on the council. The others are Russia, the United States, Britain and France.
Douglas Mwonzora, the secretary general of Zimbabwe’s main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change, said the country had more pressing issues the 91-year-old Mugabe should focus on.
“It is an act of fooling bravery. However, it is basically a diversion. The eyes of the world are going to be on Zimbabwe as it prepares for 2018 elections. We have the crucial issue of electoral reforms that must be embarked on in Zimbabwe. Mugabe and his party are marred in the succession conundrum and they [need] to find a solution to that. So his calls are merely a diversion. People should not take him seriously,” said Mwonzora.
Before the African Summit held in Ethiopia, Mugabe and his Equatorial Guinea counterpart, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, said there is need for reform of the U. N. Security Council, which should have at least two permanent seats reserved for Africa.
Pulling out of the U.N. would mean Zimbabwe, whose social sectors such as health and education heavily rely on the world body’s agencies such a WFP, UNICEF, WHO and UNFPA, would lose a lot. That might apply to other countries with fragile economies.