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Mugabe: Nigeria, S/Africa Betrayed Africa

President Robert Mugabe Of Zimbabwe Says Africa Will Never Allow Nigeria And South Africa Win A Permanent Security Council Seat Because They Betrayed The Continent When It Mattered Most

Francis Moses (With Agency reports)

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has taken a swipe at Nigeria and South Africa saying both nations betrayed the continent by voting to allow the military invasion of Libya which led to the murder of its leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

Speaking during the just concluded African Union summit in South Af- rica, Mugabe also said Africa would punish both nations by not allowing them to achieve permanent seats on the UN Security Council.

According to Mugabe, Nigeria and South Africa secretly voted for UN Security Council Resolution 1973 in 2011, which authorised military action against the Gaddafi regime.

He was quoted as saying “they be- trayed the continent which could never trust them”.

A source at the Summit said Mugabe spoke when he intervened in a meeting of the “Committee of 10” at the summit which was discussing possible amendments to the “Ezulwini Consensus” which stated Africa’s po- sition on reform of the UN Security Council.

The 2005 Ezulwini Consensus agreed that Africa should demand at least two permanent and five non-permanent seats on the council as part of the protracted, wider reform to make it more representative of the world.

The consensus also demanded that the two permanent seats should come with the same veto powers as were enjoyed by the five current permanent members including the United States of America, United Kingdom, China, Russia and France.

According to AU, the demand for veto powers had effectively stymied Africa’s chances of reforming the council and getting what it wants forcing the South African government to call for Africa to adopt a more flexible approach by dropping the veto demand.

The source said this was what the G4 nations Germany, Japan, India and Brazil– who were also seeking permanent seats on the council had done, as a tactical manoeuvre to try to diminish resistance to their bid.

Last year South African President Jacob Zuma said: “Africa needs to compromise not reiterate fixed positions as it has done for the past nine years.”

Zuma also organised a retreat of African Foreign Ministers in February 2014 to review the Ezulwini Consensus.

South Africa also took the new position for review to the Committee of 10 meeting during the AU Summit last weekend.

The Committee of 10 was appointed by the AU to pursue the UN Security Council reform.

But a regional official who was in the meeting said he believed that Mugabe’s attack on South Africa and Nigeria had seriously damaged South Africa’s case for reviewing the Ezul- wini Consensus.

The official said Mugabe had not mentioned the two countries by name. But it was clear to all in the room who he was referring to as he referred to African governments who had been on the UN Security Council when Resolution 1973 on Libya was adopted in 2011.

Nigeria and South Africa were on the council at the time, occupying two of the ten, non-permanent, two-year seats.

South Africa’s vote for Resolution 1973 was highly controversial even within South Africa in Nigeria, it was silent.

But the South African government justified it on the grounds that a foreign military intervention was necessary to prevent Gaddafi’s forces slaughtering his opponents in their Benghazi stronghold, as he threatened to do.

The South African government lat- er condemned the NATO-led military coalition for going beyond the man- date which was to protect civilians, by helping rebels overthrow Gaddafi.

However South Africa suspects that countries like Zimbabwe are avoiding review of the Ezulwini Consensus and insisting on a hard line position on UN Security Council reform because they don’t want bigger African countries like South Africa and Nigeria to get permanent seats on the council.

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