UNGA 71 SPECIAL ( 1) : President Ernest Bai Koroma , a major player in the UN system

By KABS KANU: Minister Plenipotentiary , Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN , New York :

When President Ernest Koroma arrives in New York next week to attend the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly , he will not be coming  merely as the leader of a country set only to address the General Assembly and attend side events. Each time President Koroma attends the UNGA,  he comes as a major player in the maelstrom of important issues before the United Nations.

Sierra Leone has a President who is both a  Peace Ambassador in the continental African Union ( AU) system and on  account of his widely-acclaimed role as the Chair of the African Union Committee of 10 African nations  ( C-10) on the UN Security Council Reform,  a principal payer in the United Nations and world system. In addition to being President of his country, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma  is an international diplomat, par excellence , and he has a vital influence on every UNGA.



There is a world-wide and systemic clamor to reform the UN Security Council and President Koroma is the captain of an  African endeavor that will  not only change the face of the decision-making process as a whole but will propel the continent to a position where it will have a huge voice at last in how the world is governed .  Such are the lofty desires and aspirations of a whole continent that President Koroma as he masterminds the African crusade.

The UN Security Council is the principal organ responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. It is also responsible for the establishment of peacekeeping operations and the imposition of international sanctions ; the authorization of military action via Security Council resolutions and approving changes in the UN Charter. Given the world we live in, where there are increasing tensions between countries, threats of another world war, ongoing bush wars in some parts of Africa, the Syrian crisis that is a big threat to world peace,  the rise of very dangerous and sophisticated terror groups like ISIS and Boko Haram, etc.etc, there is no doubt that the UN Security Council is the most important organ of hope for peace in the world.



As Chairman of  C-10 ,  President Koroma leads Africa’s  enterprise to canvass support for and propagate the African Common Position on the UN Security Reform . In accordance with the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, Africa is demanding two seats in the Permanent Category ; three additional seats in the Non-Permanent Category and use of the Veto, which , when it is accepted and implemented will change the balance of power not only in the UN Security Council but also in the way international disputes and chaos are settled in the world. Africa will no longer be a passive player but will in fact have a huge voice and a big hand in determining actions by the Security Council , which will change the trajectory of UN  intervention in crises around the world.

If Africa had such a voice before, it is very  reasonable to conjecture that some of the most harrowing consequences of the Rwanda, Liberia and Sierra Leone tragedies in the 1999s would have been avoided as the UN  would have  been made to see a more pressing need to  intervene  much earlier than it did. Thus, it is very important for Africa to receive what it is demanding.

When the Security Council is finally reformed, and Africa’s demands for seats in the Permanent Category and use of the Veto ( especially)  fulfilled ,  President Koroma would have helped light a lamp on the hill that will continue to glow throughout posterity and his role as one of the world leaders who made the reform possible  will forever be remembered and recalled , even if it happens after the expiration of his term of office,



Recently, President Koroma went on  a mini -African tour to engage other African leaders to trump  up more commitment and impetus and in the process accelerate the wheels of the reform negotiations. His UN  team in New York has also been fully engaged in the informal Nongovernmental negotiations and efforts to forge fruitful alliances and cooperation with other groups and stakeholders in the reform process .  With the recent arrival of the eloquent and eminent legal luminary , Ambassador Adekalie Foday Sumah , to take up his new position as Permanent Representative , the momentum is expected to be sustained.

President Koroma  has also held five  high level internal consultations, following the meetings in Freetown, Oyo, Nairobi and Livingstone.


PRESIDENT KOROMA AND PRESIDENT MUGABE : Photo credit : State House Communications Unit.

During a C-10 Summit in Windhoek, Namibia in January this year, President Koroma challenged his colleague African leaders : “We are here because we believe that the time is ripe for the fulfillment of our continent’s aspiration as espoused in the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration….Our aspirations are just, but whilst notions of justice give strength to aspirations, we can only fulfill our aspirations when we act, when we come together, when we are aware that the shift in the global power structures that we demand would not be given to us on a silver platter. ”

About why the reform of the UN Security Council is imperative, President Koroma eloquently explained : “I repeat, our aspirations are not only about redressing historic injustices, they are about making the council stronger, more democratic and more legitimate; it is about enabling the council to withstand the tests that a globalized and very interconnected world would present to it; it is about making the council take up issues before they become too late to resolve, it is about making the council more proactive, and acting with greater wisdom and strength in meeting the challenges of our world. ”




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