NEW YORK, US, Sep 20 – When Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe spoke at the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, he argued that “the UN remains mired in a long by-gone era; an archaic hierarchy even though the world has changed.”
He regretted that African nations with over one billion people remain excluded as permanent members of the key decision making organ of the United Nations – the UN Security Council.
In contrast Europe, with a population far smaller than Africa is represented by France, Russia and the United Kingdom on the UN Security Council.
On Monday, the President of the 71st United Nations General Assembly Peter Thomson admitted that Africa’s voice needs to be heard, and more done to ensure fair representation.
In a meeting with Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto, Thomson acknowledged the limitations African countries face in the Security Council.
“I am aware of the frustration African countries face despite being great parties,” he said in reference to under representation.
“Africa’s contribution is key. I cannot promise miracles; but I will try my best. How do we get more flexible… such issues are important,” he added.
In the meeting, DP Ruto made it clear Africa expected no less from the United Nations.
“We are keen as a country on matters to do with UN reform. We can share what we think the UN should look like. It should be more open and democratic.”
“I am confident under your leadership, the United Nations General Assembly shall advance its pivotal work during this critical era in the international arena,” he told Thomson.
Earlier, Ruto met UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon and discussed the refugee situation in Kenya, regional security and the country’s role in peace restoration.
The United Nations commended Kenya for hosting the largest number of refugees for a long period of time.
“We appreciate your commitment to address this issue, which is part of our international obligation,” Ban said.
He said the refugee crisis required a global sharing of the responsibility.
He also made note that the South Sudan crisis was a big issue and thanked Kenya for its role in spearheading amicable resolution of the power struggle.
Ruto said 27,000 Somali refugees had returned to their country while 100,000 others had been processed and were awaiting funds for repatriation.
The Deputy President said the international community should play its role to ensure South Sudan realises lasting peace.
Thomson requested that Kenya’s Ambassador to the UN, Macharia Kamau, be allowed to head the Sustainable Development Goals implementation committee, to which Ruto said there was no objection.