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Lazarus Chakwera tipped on UN Security Council push

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By Deogratias Mmana

President Lazarus Chakwera has been advised to change the approach in his push for two permanent seats for Africa on the United Nations (UN) Security Council.

During the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Summit which took place in Lilongwe last month, Chakwera said he would push for Africa to have permanent seats on the UN Security Council.

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In his inaugural speech at the United Nations General Assembly (Unga) last year, Chakwera advanced the same call.

But Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has asked Chakwera to take a different approach since the call for African representation on the UN Security Council started in 2005 but to no avail.

“The call has not borne fruit in the past but this is no reason for African countries to back down. We need to continue lobbying and it is good that the President is doing that. This longstanding injustice should be addressed,” said CHRR Executive Director Michael Kaiyatsa.

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“However,” said Kaiyatsa, “There is a need for Chakwera to find other means of pushing the agenda forward rather than simply making speeches at the UN. Speeches have been made before but nothing has changed.

“There is, therefore, a need to change strategy for the UN to heed Africa’s call.”

Centre for Research and Consultancy (CRC) has also advised Chakwera and African leaders to develop their economies so that the UN and others can stop treating Africa as an underdog.

“Africa needs to see beyond the reluctance. The power of a president, the power of a nation and, indeed, the power of a continent is in the economy,”  said CRC Executive Director Milward Tobias.

In an interview on Tuesday, Chakwera’s acting Press Secretary Anthony Kasunda said the President is of the view that it is long overdue for African states to be treated as important members of the UN family.

“As such, his message to this year’s United Nations General Assembly breathes fresh oxygen into Africa’s quest for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council,” said Kasunda.

African countries have been demanding the reform of the UN Security Council because, they say, it is out of date and out of touch with reality.

The countries observe that of the five permanent members with veto power, none is from Africa, yet the continent provides the largest membership of the UN.

The five permanent members are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In addition, the council is made up of 10 other non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the Unga but these members do not have veto powers.

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