UN must re­form or be­come ir­rel­e­vant

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Per­spec­tive Stephen Mpofu

THE ap­point­ment of Zim­babwe’s Am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, Dr Fredrick Shava, as pres­i­dent of the UN Eco­nomic and So­cial Coun­cil is not “just one of those things”.

On the con­trary, the choice of the en­voy who boasts wide diplo­matic ex­pe­ri­ence, should be seen by both de­trac­tors and sup­port­ers of our coun­try as a recog­ni­tion of the pos­i­tive role that, though com­par­a­tively small, Zim­babwe has in the past and con­tin­ues to play in the ad­vance­ment of hu­man­ity in the global vil­lage.

Not less sig­nif­i­cant though, Dr Shava’s ap­point­ment should also be read as an elo­quent state­ment at best dis­ap­prov­ing, and at worst de­nounc­ing those UN mem­ber states which have ganged up against Zim­babwe by or­gan­is­ing and fund­ing vi­o­lent protests by sup­port­ers of op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal par­ties in this coun­try to try to ren­der our home­land un­govern­able in their ef­forts to ex­act regime change af­ter the fail­ure of il­le­gal Western eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial sanc­tions to de­liver on that goal by top­pling the Zanu-PF gov­ern­ment and re­vers­ing the land re­form pro­gramme.

It cer­tainly does not need one to proph­esy in re­verse for one to tell that a mot­ley band of anti-Zim­babwe pro­tes­tors try­ing to seek rel­e­vance at the cur­rent United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly in New York must also have had dirty money stashed away in their hands or pock­ets by arch en­e­mies of our gov­ern­ment in a fer­vent bid to em­bar­rass Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe who is among the heads of states at­tend­ing the cur­rent ses­sion of the UN body, and also pariah the Zim­bab­wean state.

But be that as it may, the big­ger pic­ture of Zim­babwe’s con­tri­bu­tions to­wards po­lit­i­cal, so­cial and eco­nomic eman­ci­pa­tion of the im­pov­er­ished and the po­lit­i­cally op­pressed on the globe should not only take cen­tre stage, but should per­suade those with dag­gers pointed at Zim­babwe’s back to throw their weapons down and rally to Zim­babwe’s sup­port so­cially and eco­nom­i­cally to en­able our coun­try to do much more than it has done so far in con­tribut­ing to the dire needs of those fel­low hu­man be­ings else­where on our planet.

For in­stance, does it not amount to an irony of ironies for the only su­per power in the world, the United States of Amer­ica, to pour lau­da­tions on this coun­try through its Am­bas­sador in Harare for Zim­babwe’s open handed re­cep­tion and host­ing of refugees flee­ing vi­o­lent con­flicts, the boomerang ef­fects of desta­bil­i­sa­tion of their coun­tries by Amer­ica and Europe?

Am­bas­sador Thomas Harry was quoted in a news story pub­lished this week as say­ing “to date Zim­babwe has wel­comed more than 9 000 refugees and we thank the gov­ern­ment of Zim­babwe for hon­our­ing its in­ter­na­tional com­mit­ments by pro­vid­ing a safe place for refugees”.

Now com­pare Zim­babwe’s open-heart­ed­ness with the eth­no­cen­tric­ity of some Western coun­tries that have shut out thou­sands upon thou­sands of refugees seek­ing a new lease of life away from their con­flic­trid­den home­lands.

Dr Shava, who went to the UN af­ter a ster­ling stint as Am­bas­sador to China, the sec­ond big­gest econ­omy af­ter the United States, will steer the ac­tiv­i­ties of the 54 na­tions group that is fo­cused on so­cio-eco­nomic is­sues.

As a part of his new port­fo­lio, the en­voy stressed the need for in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment as a way of im­prov­ing liveli­hoods in ac­cor­dance with the Africa Agenda which urges African states to trans­form, grow and in­dus­tri­alise their economies.

Sanc­tions im­posed on Zim­babwe by Bri­tain, the former colo­nial power in this coun­try, and the United States with other coun­tries in Europe trot­ting along as cubs, clearly run counter to the Africa Agenda and should there­fore be lifted so that Zim­babwe may also trans­form, grow and in­dus­tri­alise along with other coun­tries on the con­ti­nent.

Which also chal­lenges the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment to make good the de­nun­ci­a­tion by its Am­bas­sador to Zim­babwe of vi­o­lent protests that have caused de­struc­tion to prop­erty.

Speak­ing af­ter pay­ing a cour­tesy call on In­for­ma­tion, Me­dia and Broad­cast­ing ser­vices Min­is­ter Dr Christo­pher Mushohwe, Ms Ca­tri­ona Laing said while po­lice should ex­er­cise im­par­tial­ity when ex­e­cut­ing their du­ties, pro­tes­tors should know that any demo­cratic coun­try ab­horred burn­ing prop­er­ties, loot­ing of shops and at­tacks on in­no­cent peo­ple.

But surely the Bri­tish en­voy does know the protesters she talked about re­sorted to vi­o­lence as part of a Western agenda for regime change of which her own coun­try is a part?

Or is she against vi­o­lent protests as such, but in favour of protests de­void of loot­ing and burn­ing and ha­rass­ment of in­no­cent peo­ple so long as it re­mains a state­ment in favour of the over­throw of the in­cum­bent, revo­lu­tion­ary party gov­ern­ment, so that some peo­ple will be left with no vo­li­tion but to read her state­ment as be­ing di­vi­sional?

If the world body truly de­sires and seeks to bet­ter the wel­fare of hu­man­ity on this earth, then it must erad­i­cate with­out fur­ther drag­ging its feet the dan­ger­ous and racially dis­crim­i­na­tory phi­los­o­phy of sur­vival of the strong­est by equal­is­ing so­cial, eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal op­por­tu­ni­ties for all mem­ber states to usher the global vil­lage into a brave new fu­ture for all.

As things stand now, a few pow­er­ful na­tions that en­joy greater vo­cal sway in the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil over other mem­ber states dis­play to the world at large a mug shot as THE por­trai­ture of the United Na­tions — a sad com­men­tary, in­deed, of that au­gust body.

A United Na­tions where vot­ing rights are equalised, more or less, and where uni­lat­er­al­ism be­comes anath­ema, dis­plays to the rest of the world as an en­larged, more com­mend­able pic­ture of it­self.

On the other hand, nurs­ing the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil’s mori­bund sta­tus might lead to the UN’s ir­rel­e­vance in the long run.

Dr Fredrick Shava

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