The United Nations General Assembly continued in New York Tuesday with African leaders highlighting the United Nations role in supporting and ridding the world of fear and violence.
One after the other, the African leaders, including Namibia’s Hage G. Geingob and King Mswati III of Swaziland, noted the UN has and should continue to play a significant role in reducing conflicts on the African continent and in other parts of the world.
“We are in the process of establishing a new Africa, with its own narrative as told by its sons and daughters,” said President Geingob.
“Africa has turned a new leaf, bidding farewell to the days of coup d’états and embracing electoral democracy. We as Africans, through the African Union, have ostracized those who come to office through unlawful ways.”
Geingob explained that the recent coup in Burkina Faso is an example of the continent’s zero tolerance policy towards those who come to power through illegal ways. He called for the establishment of processes, systems and institutions to ensure electoral democracy on the continent.
“This will ensure that those who lose at the polls accept the results,” he stressed. “By doing so, we can bring to an end a situation where those who lose at the polls feel left out, defeated and therefore choose to wage war.”
Rwandan President Paul Kagame said the task for world leaders is not to settle the past but to shape the future.
“Our task is to settle the future not the past. Change is coming and it is necessary. No one can manage it alone,” he said.
Sustainable Development Goals
He stressed that the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the world leader ahead of the general assembly, had set out good commitments that must now be wholly kept.
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe spoke Monday and put across the African Union’s sentiments, telling the world Africa is not a beggar but would want to work well with the rest of the world to make sure its citizens benefit from its natural resources.
But as expected he stuck to familiar themes of gays and sanctions in his speech. He also extended an olive branch to western countries that imposed sanctions on him and members of his inner circle asking the United States in particular what Zimbabwe had done to incur her wrath.
He criticized the West for imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe saying developed nations, with a regime change agenda, should not interfere in the internal affairs of the country.
Mentioning America by name, Mr. Mugabe said he did not know what Zimbabwe had done wrong to upset America for the country to impose what he said were crippling economic sanctions.
“We do not know what wrong we have committed against the United States of America. We invite other countries with which we may have differences, including the U.S. and the NATO powers,” said Mr. Mugabe.
“We invite them if they have differences of whatever nature with us to eschew threats, pressures and punitive action in favor of reconciliation, friendship and dialogue. I therefore, denounce in the strongest terms the illegal sanctions imposed on my country by Europe and the USA.”
President Mugabe was also critical on gays, noting that Zimbabwe fundamentally differs with the West on such issues.
He condemned the push for gay rights by “self-anointed prefects of our time”.
In the beginning of the speech, he wore his African Union Chairmanship hat and reiterated long-standing calls by the A-U and other developing nations for the reform of the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly.
President Mugabe, who has been accused of rights abuses, told the general assembly the issue of respecting and upholding human rights is the obligation of all states as enshrined in the United Nations charter, adding nowhere does the charter arrogate the right to some to seat in judgement over others.
“In that regard, we reject the politicization of this important issue and the application of double-standards to victimize those who dare think and act independently of the self-anointed prefects of our time,” he said.
He ended his speech by telling the biggest gathering of world leader in decades that Zimbabwe wants to live in harmony with all countries, big or small
“We have peace in Zimbabwe just now. We don’t want war, we don’t want interference; we don’t want to hear of regime change at all.”
“We invite other countries with which we may have differences of whatever nature to eschew threats, pressures and punitive actions, in favour of reconciliation, friendship and dialogue. I therefore denounce, in the strongest terms, the illegal sanctions that are imposed on my country by the European Union and the USA and call for their immediate and unconditional removal.
Once more, I put it on record that my country is desirous to live in harmony with all countries, big and small.”
This year the UN General Assembly adopted the new sustainable development goals replacing the millennium development goals that expired this year.
The theme for this year's UNGA is "UN at 70: Road Ahead for Peace, Security and Human Rights".
Zanu PF activist, Gadzira Chirumhanzu, told VOA's Ntungamili Nkomo Mr. Mugabe was spot on several issues when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly.