Africa deserves permanent seats on UN Security Council

Ugandan Parliamentarian Thomas Tayebwa

The Deputy Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament Thomas Tayebwa has called for the creation of two permanent seats for Africa at the United Nations Security Council, in renewed calls for the body’s reforms.

Speaking at the 63rd Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) – European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly on Monday, 26 June in Brussels, Belgium, Tayebwa said that it is a shame that Africa, which is three times bigger than Europe, is not permanently represented at the UN Security Council.

“There are no permanent members from Latin America or Africa, and China is the only Asian member … this damages the legitimacy of the Security Council if it is seen as a forum dominated by the west and great powers, where the global south and smaller states are marginalised,” he said.

He added: “This has no standing in any modern society; we cannot continue living in the era of 1945 before most of us were born.”

The deputy speaker stressed that the unrepresentative nature of the council came into play during the Libyan conflict, where he said the United Nations Security Council approved the bombardment of the North African country without the input of Africa.

“The Security Council has been reduced to settling quarrels between big states and superpowers but when it came to the invasion of Libya, you did all you could and you made a mess [out of Libya],” he said.   

Africa has always been irked with the skewed membership of the United Nations Security Council, with the 2005 Ezulwini consensus and Sirte declaration in which the African Union member states resolved that Africa should be accorded two permanent seats at the council, which has since never come to fruition.

Tayebwa said Uganda remains committed to the position adopted by the African Union on an inclusive and representative United Nations Security Council, a move he said would create good context for global peace and stability to flourish.  

Zimbabwe’s Deputy President of the Senate, Hon. General Michael Reuben Nyambuya, agreed with Tayebwa’s position, arguing that the reforms are urgently needed for equity in representation.   

“An enlarged council should include at least two permanent seats and five non-permanent seats for Africa; the current dispensation is not democratic and makes a mockery of the lectures which we get on democracy,” he said.

The continued exclusion of Africans from permanent representation at the Security Council, said Tayebwa, has stalled the continent’s agenda in rolling back against climate change, insecurity, terrorism, and poverty which he said are discussed in a body where the continent isn’t represented.   

The United States of America, United Kingdom, China, Russia, and France are the five permanent members, and any changes to include other countries, even if passed by the United Nations General Assembly, will still require the approval of the five members of the Security Council.