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‘African leaders averse to internal reforms’

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The Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has said that most African leaders are averse to internal reforms while pushing for the reform of international organisations.

The Executive Director, Dr. Ibrahim Zikirullahi, stated this yesterday in an online discussion on the reform of the United Nations (UN) entitled ‘The Africa We Want and the United Nations We Need’.

The centre reiterated that African states congregating through multilateral continental bodies like the African Union (AU) had clearly not done enough to derive the legitimacy from their own people with which they would mount a strategic push for a reform of the UN.

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It stressed that the key questions of justice and fairness remained unanswered by the leadership in Africa.

He said, “This detachment from the ideals, which should be at the heart of any push for reforms, has accounted for many mishaps. This is why in the pursuit of the reform of the UN, African leaders have largely put the cart before the horse. In this regard, there is more emphasis on the global optics provided by the yearly congregation at the UN than in the push for just, equal and egalitarian African societies.

“The quality of content and character of the UN would only be determined by the quality of the states that make up its membership.”

According to him, if the UN we want must be just, inclusive and respectful of diversity, the Africa we need must necessarily reflect those values of inclusion, justice, fairness and egalitarianism.

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“This is the only legitimate basis on which the reform of the UN can be pursued by African leaders, without the moral burden of urging the global body to practise what the African states themselves are not practising,” he added.

The Africa we need, he stressed, is one in which every citizen has a voice and the democratic process does not stifle the voices of the people. “As long as African states continue to constrain the capacity of their citizens for democratic self-expression, they will keep undermining the basis for not only better and stable African societies, but also make a mockery of any idea they put forward for reforms and inclusion in the UN.”

Speaking on strengthening the democratic process as a basis for the Africa we need and the UN we want, Zikirullahi, said, “The critical place of democracy in bringing about the Africa we need, and the inclusive UN we want, cannot be over-emphasised. It would appear that the vast majority of the people of Africa have tried to embrace democracy as the vehicle for the realisation of their developmental aspirations. However, the faith of African citizens in the democratic process is increasingly being eroded by the subversion of the process by the ruling elite.”

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