70th UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
By Celestin Ngoa Balla, US Africa News. Updated 2015-10-07
Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo arrived in New York two weeks ago to represent Cameroon's President Paul Biya at the Development Summit and the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN). But shortly before mounting the podium, he was no longer in the government. He thus put away his speech and no one would get to hear the voice of Cameroon at the 70th General Assembly of the UN. According to reliable sources, the day before his address to the UN General Assembly, Moukokoo Mbonjo was ordered by the Secretary General of the Presidency of Cameroon to hop back onto the plane to Yaounde. Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh’s order also decreed that no one else take the floor for Cameroon at the UN’s 70th session. History has certainly repeated itself.
President Ali Bongo of Gabon can count as a point of honor that of all the Central African Heads of State, he was the only one who read a speech to the General Assembly, which held its 70th session in New York throughout last week (September 28 to October 3, 2015). However, Ali Bongo did not act as the spokesman of a region experiencing numerous hotbeds of fighting. Just as, contrary to his usual behavior, he did not spend a lot of time touting the progress of his country. Shadowed by the introduction of a suit for divorce in a Los Angeles court by his first wife, who is a US citizen, the Gabonese president wanted, instead, to be the voice of the continent. He pointed out, before the UN General Assembly, the rapid growth of terrorism on the continent. As a solution to counter Boko Haram, al-Shabaab and others, Ali Bongo called on the international community to target donors to terrorist groups. He also called for reform of the UN Security Council by demanding equitable representation of different regions, across all members. For Ali Bongo, this reform of the UN Security Council will contribute to the fight against terrorism.
Catherine Samba-Panza the President of the Transition in Central African Republic was also in New York. But, alerted that a coup was being prepared against her in Bangui, she flew back without waiting for her turn to speak before the Assembly. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Central African Republic, Rangba Samuel, spoke in her place. "Today, after a year of hard work with the efforts of the transitional government and the international community, we could declare with satisfaction a week ago that the drama was over, the Central African Republic progressively raised from the ashes and gradually resuming its place in the concert of nations," said Rangba before continuing: "Alas! By the time we came to the United Nations to announce the encouraging results of the transitional process, which is coming to an end, for the organization of elections by the end of 2015, the enemies of peace have, once again, dealt a serious blow to the process since September 25 by blind violence, murders, and heinous crimes causing dozens of casualties and destruction of public and private property, and the displacement of the population." As one might expect, the CAR is asking the UN Security Council to strengthen the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in that country (Minusca). "I ask the UN Security Council to strengthen the mandate of Minusca to better fight these enemies of peace and restore hope to the battered Central African people." He also asked the Security Council to "consider easing the sanctions regime with respect to the Central African State, particularly in regard to training and equipping of our defense and security forces in the context of bilateral cooperation."
The President of Equatorial Guinea remained at home, and it was his son and second vice-president who represented the Republic at 70th session. "Equatorial Guinea is a small country in Africa and survives thanks to the prudence of its government, to the willingness of its people, and the supportive cooperation of friendly countries. We have been subjected to mercenary invasions supported by external powers, with respect to armaments, whose only goal was to appropriate the oil resources of our country. But this is not enough for them, our country has suffered a systematic campaign of unfounded accusations of rights violations," claimed Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue. Continuing in this vein, which assumes that his father is reputable, the Equatorial Guinean Vice President pinpointed what appeared to him to be the major problems currently plaguing the world. "Many complaints against the action, the principles and objectives of the UN Charter in this context occur every day without any concern on the part of those responsible, because they consider that their interests are superior to UN principles. The result: Many wars and many conflicts involving the influx of refugees, and concentration camps for them; the massive immigration of people seeking places of welcome in countries with some stability and economic prosperity. The drop in oil prices and other trading products in countries affected by armed conflicts, whose products are taken as a trophy of war. Ultimately, we collect the fruit of our own negative destructive action and this is not the objective of the United Nations," he stated. Not without having pointed out that: "Equatorial Guinea is participating in this regular session of the General Assembly of the United Nations with a renewed spirit of faith and trusting in the important role of this organization for the promotion of peace, security and the stability of our countries, in order to create the basic conditions for the welfare of human beings."
Denis Sassou Nguesso also stayed home. In his place, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Claude Gakosso, mounted the UN forum on October 2nd. As France announced the seizure of Sassou Nguesso’s ill-gotten assets in Paris, and while people were in the streets of Brazzaville to say no to the referendum the president wanted to organize to give him a chance to stay in power for life, the Congolese Minister was rather limited to speaking about the Central African Republic. In his speech, Jean-Claude Gakosso portrayed the Congolese President as leading "with determination the international mediation in the crisis that has faced our sister country for many years." With the same spirit of diversion, Gakosso spoke of an an imaginary "mobilization within the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in the fight against Boko Haram-- this terrorist and sectarian rebel organization."
A day before this surprise from the Congolese Minister, there was Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat, who spoke before the United Nations General Assembly in place of Idriss Deby. He proposed that 2016 be declared "Year of the Fight against Terrorism," in order to "calmly reflect on the root causes of this phenomenon, the strategies and means to contain and ultimately to eliminate it." Meanwhile, Mr. Mahamat said that the countries of the Lake Chad Basin hoped for the United Nations and other partners to provide "material, financial, and logistical support" to the multinational Joint Force set up by these countries to end the abuses of Boko Haram. Terrorist activities of this "evil cult", perpetrated on an almost daily basis in the countries of the subregion, have not stopped, "despite the considerable losses incurred during military operations by coalition armies". Recalling that his country is the second largest in Africa which is home to a large number of refugees, Moussa Faki Mahamat appealed for help from the international community to support these refugees, most notably from Libya, Nigeria, Sudan and CAR.