Sunday, June 03, 2007


Every now and then African leaders always come up with an issue purportedly to lift the continent out of its ever present and deepening crisis. In all of these cases however the real intent, at best is nothing short of hypocritical attempts to justify their right to be in power. At worst, it is a ploy (suggested and imposed on them by their Western masters) to make it seem as if there is a magic wand that can wipe out the misery that is the lot of the African. One such hopeless attempt is the shameless efforts these leaders have been making during the last few months to get permanents seats in the UN Security Council. And foremost amongst its exponent, are the most dubious and subservient heads of state in the persons of Obasanjo, Wade and Mbeki.

Whether out of crass ignorance of the real role of the UN (and its veto-wielding quintet) or out of their infantile gullibility is not reason enough to exonerate the leaders from the harm they are visiting on not just Africans but on mankind as a whole. The UN, as every right-minded person knows, was not the creation of all the people of this world. An insignificant minority of the wealthy through their governments set it up. These few owners of wealth (behind the scenes) were mostly from the US, UK, France, on the one hand and the rulers of USSR and China (who were the de facto owners of soviet and Chinese resources). No wonder, therefore, that they appointed themselves as the "veto powers". They created the UN to replace the League of Nations in order to chart a new and improved way of dominating the world economy since the business environment had considerably changed in the aftermath of World War 2. For instance, the end of the War had brought about changes in the ownership of the resources of the world. The German business community and its allies in the Axis were defeated and deprived of their wealth. This had to be shared by their victorious opponents in the US, UK, France etc. To this day the UN is being controlled by and working in the interests of these tiny business community through their governments. That is why American big business which is the most powerful today, can arrogantly brush aside the UN and attack Iraq to loot the oil resources there. That is why they are coercing other members of the UN to sign bilateral agreements government not to hand over American citizens involved in global crimes to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. That is why, in the interests of their business and super profits, they turn a blind eye to the absence of "democracy" in the Gulf States and yet rant at others like Zimbabwe where there is some semblance of that capitalist democracy.

That African leaders should clamour for permanent seats in the UN Security Council with veto powers smacks of their chronic myopia and their shaky grasp of the real situation. The fact that the openly declared objective of the UN to ensure peace and prosperity in the world has continued to elude the organisation is a clear manifestation of its hypocrisy. After sixty years of its existence, global peace and prosperity keep worsening. This terrible situation is reflected in every part of the world including the countries with veto powers. In the US school children go to school with guns and shoot at colleagues and teachers; thousands of American men and women are sent to places like Iraq and Afghanistan to be killed; even a preventable disaster like the hurricane Catherine is callously allowed to destroy lives and prosperity. In France, thousands of the aged are frozen to death every winter and others are killed by heat during summer because they either didn’t have homes or can’t afford to keep their homes warm or cool (depending on the weather). The story is the same in the UK where healthcare, education, employment, etc, are in complete disarray. African Leaders are therefore wallowing in a dreamland if they think the solution to poverty and deprivation is to join the ranks so these failed veto states.

However in the unlikely event that some happen to become permanent members of the Security Council with veto powers, their influence in international affairs will not, in the least, differ from the current second fiddle role they are playing. They will continue to be used as tools by their present masters in Washington, Paris, and London. A very resent Example of this can be seen in the Nigerian debt relief farce that was announced just before the G8 summit in Gleneagles. The Paris Club of rich western capitalists granted this so-called giant of Africa a debt relief to the tune of 31 billion US dollars. But then a millennium development committee was set up by these benefactors to monitor what happened to the debt relief. This committee, chaired by Obasanjo would include Oxfam and Action Aid, two international NGOs - the unofficial errand boys of western business interests. The committee was also tasked with the responsibility of monitoring the UN Millennium Development Goals. In effect these two NGOs would be actively involved in the implementation and monitoring the budgetary policy of a "sovereign" Nigeria to the tune of 31 billion US dollars. And this, without the electoral or democratic mandate of the Nigerian people. The question then is that if Nigeria happens to sit on the UNSC and has the power of veto, in whose interest will such a veto be used?

This fanfare over representation and veto rights in the SC is nothing less than another red herring. It is aimed at diverting public attention from the real causes of poverty and underdevelopment. The problems of poverty, insecurity, hunger underdevelopment, injustice, etc emanate from the relationship between people and the resources of the world. In today’s world the resources, in the form of land, factories, transport and communication networks etc, are owned by a minority. This tiny group of owners does not in anyway engage in producing wealth. The real producers of wealth are the overwhelming majority who do not own the resources – the means of producing and distribution of wealth. The wealth they produce is appropriated by the few by virtue of their ownership of the means of production. The real producers are then paid wages just enough to keep them alive so they can continue to produce.

It is this minority of wealth owners who effectively control the world through global, regional and national institutions such as the UN, WTO, Paris Club, AU and all governments. Individuals like Kofi Annan, Bush, Blair, Obasanjo etc are mere tools in the service of the owners of big business. New permanent membership with veto rights will not solve any problem just as the existing ones have woefully failed the masses of the world’s people. The only solution is to dismantle the present economic system, which divides the world into a few unproductive owners of wealth and a toiling majority without any stake in the ownership and control of world resources.

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