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Crisis in Libya highlights need for reformation of United Nations Security Council

Rhulani Thembi Siweya is a Pan Africanist and writer. She is a member of the ANCYL NEC, founder of Africa Unmasked and an MBA student at MENCOSA. She is a former national treasurer of SASCO.

The United Nations Security Council is only committed now to respecting the borders of Libya, when the nation is broken and bleeding, but failed to respect the borders when the nation was healthy with great prospects of sustained economic growth.

The current Libyan humanitarian crisis indicates the need for the reformation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the implementation of progressive Pan-Africanism in the African Union (AU) and the need to redefine the concept of the responsibility to protect in the current modern epoch.

The spilling of Libyan blood does not only create a martyr, but it continues to expose the current configuration of the United Nations Security Council, the thirst and violent confiscation of African resources, especially oil in Libya, by the superpowers and the incessant systematic underdevelopment in the African continent.

The greatest Prophet of Pax-Africana Dr Ali Mazrui discussed what he termed the African condition to discuss the core reasons behind the current African problems. He first pointed out that the problems may stem from a curse by our forefathers to the current generations for failing to fulfil their objectives about the continent. He also mentioned colonialism in all its manifestations: internal, external and neocolonialism. While he also mentioned systematic violence which has its womb and birthmark from poor governance.

For many Africans it may be easy to allude to the existence of the curse, it may come from the failure to implement the African democratic revolution which is underpinned by Pax Africana. Such a curse may be evidenced in the manner in which many African states have resorted to ignore the current Libyan humanitarian crisis and look to institutions like the United Nations (UN) to solve the crisis. The “minding own” approach taken by the African states has resulted in the failure of the implementation of “continental jurisdiction” that Mazrui coined as the foundational basis and elements of progressive Pax Africana. For there won’t be home-brewed African solutions, mechanisms and principles when the United Nations Security Council becomes the sole actor in the process to resolve African problems.

The UNSC took a resolution (2380/2017) which stated that the UN is committed to “sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya”. This is contrary to the fact that the same council had taken a resolution a few years ago to declare a no-fly zone in Libya and ultimately military intervention through the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) which led to the assassination of the Libyan leader and some of his government officials. The UNSC is only committed now to respecting the borders of Libya when the nation is broken and bleeding but failed to respect the borders when the nation was healthy with great prospects of sustained economic growth.

The attitude of the UNSC exposes the true nature of its configuration: to maintain the ideological differences of the Cold War with the West as the growing hegemon in the international community. This also places the African continent as objects and a hub of satellite states in which the competing superpowers battle for their own national interests – with each of them claiming to be progressing an African agenda, even though none of them is situated in our continent. A genuine African voice must be sought from Africans. African states must be part of the permanent states in the UNSC, African states make up most of what becomes the agenda in the meetings of the Council.

It is also important to discuss the fact that the African Union (AU) continues to be undermined by the UNSC. The AU is not only undermined because it is situated in the African continent, Frantz Fanon in Black Skins White Masks best describes the reasons behind the systematic measures put in place to undermine any decisions taken by the African Union, when he said, “Though a psychological interpretation of the black problem is crucial, yet the effective disalienation of the black man entails an immediate recognition of social and economic realities. If there is an inferiority complex, it is the outcome of a double process: primarily, economic, subsequently, the internalisation or the epidermalisation of this inferiority.”

Most of the member states of the UNSC have been able to create and maintain economic dependency of African states; from aid, linear investments through trade liberalisation and lifetime loans. At the core of undermining the AU is its economic incapacity, which then makes it an unimportant actor in African relations. The AU cannot even curb the confiscation, theft, fraud and corruption that happens in the looting of the Libyan oil by the superpowers. Illicit financial flows are the order of the day in Libya because there are no measures put in place to protect access to its natural resources, financial policies and the overall economy.

The tears of a child that cries in Libya must not be in vain, in fact, all African states must be concerned about this. One of the magnificent African leaders, Amilcar Cabral in 1966 addressing the first Tri-continental Conference of the Peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America held in Havana, Cuba had this to say with regards to the fact that Africans must always care about the stability and wellbeing of others, “When your house is burning, it’s no use beating the tom-toms.”

While a martyr is created in Libya, time and again all of us must ask ourselves what has happened to the Peer Review Mechanism, the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights, New Partnership for Africas Development (NEPAD), the African elders, African Renaissance and the implementation of Pax-Africana? Have all these important concepts and institutions gone in vain? While we mull over responses, let African states lend a hand to Libya. DM


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