Thursday, September 25, 2014

Speeches by African Heads of State at 2014 UN General Assembly - Part I

Nearly every sitting African head of state has spoken during the opening debate of the 69th United Nations General Assembly, or is scheduled to do so.

Here are brief excerpts from the speeches delivered on Wednesday, September 24, with links to the full reported remarks, in chronological order.

His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
President of the Republic of Uganda

"One bottleneck that has bedeviled Africa has been the espousing of the pseudo-ideology of sectarianism of religion or tribe as well as chauvinism vis a vis the women. It is this pseudo-ideology that has fuelled most of the conflicts in Africa. We are also witnessing the same pseudo-ideology causing havoc in the Middle East and North Africa. When uninformed outsiders link-up with these pseudo-ideologists, the permutation is most tragic. The sectarian ideology is pseudo and bankrupt because it is at variance with the people's real interests of symbiosis, exchange of goods and services as well as integration for mutual benefit. Only parasites revel in such schemes. This pseudo-ideology should be banished and treated with the contempt it deserves."

His Excellency Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz
President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

"The Sahel was one of the first regions to experience the phenomenon of terrorism. But thanks to the close security cooperation between the countries of the region and the international solidarity, the terrorists were pushed back and the activities of illegal trafficking networks were paralyzed. Africans [have] rigorously faced a difficult situation in North Mali. Thus, several countries of the continent, along with international friendly forces fought against terrorist groups. The risk of terrorism was removed from the vital areas which served as a base for the launching of criminal terrorist operations. The French intervention was determinant and appropriate. Likewise, history will retain the great sacrifices made and which are still made by the brave soldiers from Tchad. But the region is still exposed to security risks which are for now relatively contained."

His Excellency Paul Kagame
President, Republic of Rwanda

[UN summary] "To manage diversity in societies, politics must be international in scope, he said, adding that negative experiences of nationalism had created doubt about patriotism and national identity. Today, it was evident that national identities were too weak. Regionalism and religions had become the dominant forces, tearing nations apart. In Rwanda, the focus had been on building Government institutions that were held to account and on renewing the dignity of the nation. As a result, Rwandans were the most optimistic people in the world, with faith in their Government and institutions. It was up to the international community to not just manage conflicts, but to help prevent and end them."

His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta
President, Republic of Kenya

"On the continent of Africa the development model of the past 50 years has run its course. This outmoded model was defined by negative trade relations, paternalistic global governance regimes and an over reliance on Official Development Assistance (ODA). Moreover it was driven by external prescriptions for development that were heavy on political instruction but light on economic and social transformation.

"We now know better Mr. President. We know that our social and economic transformation shall come first from within our nations, our region and our continent and only secondly from the compliment of external ideas and resources. Equally important, these external contributions must recognize the primacy of our aspirations and ideas. They must value and safe guard, rather than simply exploit and consume our domestic resources and the product of our people's labour."

His Excellency Goodluck Ebele Jonathan

President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

"Mr. President, the violent and criminal activities of Boko Haram have continued to pose a potent challenge to the government and people of Nigeria. Through a wave of terror, assassinations, bombings, and now abductions and kidnappings predominantly in the North East of the country, Boko Haram is attempting to truncate development, by murder and mayhem, in these areas. In April, our innocent daughters were abducted from a Secondary School, in Chibok-North East Nigeria. This callous and criminal act has attracted empathy and support for Nigeria across the globe."

His Excellency Jacob Zuma
President, Republic of South Africa

"Given our history and heritage, we are mindful of our historic and moral responsibility in the global struggle against racism, racial discrimination and other intolerances.

"We will in this regard, continue to be at the forefront of efforts to eliminate all forms of racism, racial discrimination and any other intolerance including xenophobia and anti-Semitism....

"We will continue to support the struggles for freedom and self-determination, including the struggles of the peoples of Palestine and Western Sahara who continue to experience occupation and colonialism of different forms.

"The people of Cuba also hold a special place in our hearts because of that country's sacrifice for African freedom. We will therefore continue to support their struggle for economic liberation."

His Excellency Idriss D├ęby Itno
President, Republic of Chad

[UN summary] "Chad would continue to support the processes of dialogue and reconciliation throughout Africa, he said. Regarding the new Libya, which had barely begun to exist after the fall of Qadhafi’s regime, the violence had doubled in intensity and populations lived in constant fear. However, Libyans must resolutely commit to a political resolution process, which was the only proper path to ensure peace, unity and territorial integrity for Libya. Chad, as well as Nigeria, Sudan and the Central African Republic, had welcomed hundreds of thousands of refugees who had fled armed conflicts or terrorist threats. There were more than 500,000 refugees from neighbouring countries in Chad, including many repatriated Chadians and displaced Chadians."

His Excellency Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
President, Equatorial Guinea

[UN summary] "Democracy was not an imported product, he said, and could not be designed in the offices of other countries. Democracy was formed through the application of positive values characterizing a society, and only the people were able to define the model that best suited them. Equatorial Guinea was being made into a modern democratic State, in which politics were now at their peak. The transfer of power was guaranteed through equal rights for all political options, the administration of public affairs was carried out with transparency, and human rights were monitored by reliable institutions."