A good start for Ban Ki-Moon
Three weeks in and the new Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon’s begun his first foreign tour. And he’s chosen Africa as his first stop.
Today he’s been in Kinshasa, the capital of a country which let’s just say had an eventful 2006. After months of wrangling, violence and uncertainty, elections were held in the D.R. Congo; the country can now justify the “democratic” part of its name.
Incombent Joseph Kabila won convincly with his rival Jean-Pierre Bemba joining the opposition…the country now seems on a more stable tack.
Addressing the Congolese national assembly today, Ban Ki-Moon hailed last years elections as a sign of hope for the country and urged law makers to start a “good governance pact” to see it continue.
After this, the UN Sec-Gen’s heading to the African Union summit in Ethiopia and meeting the not-so-applauded Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir.
A good sign
To visit these countries first is a promising sign. It shows that Ban Ki-Moon’s serious about following his predecessor Kofi Annan’s commitment to peace on the African continent.
It would be easy for the South Korean to put more emphasis on problems closer to home, like the North Korean nuclear missile issue, but he’s made it clear that issue won’t take the spotlight off Africa.
And with Darfur still rumbling on, often without notice, Ban’s come at the right time.
But we can’t get our hopes up too much. Africa was Kofi Annan’s mission too, taking his post in the raw years after the Rwandan genocide. And while victories for peace and progression have come in some places, like Liberia, Sierra Leone and D.R. Congo, Somalia only got worse and now Sudan’s in turmoil.
With so many concerted efforts gaining pace elsewhere to erradicate malaria and tackle HIV, Ban Ki-Moon needs to show he’s not all talk but a leader who can tie these threads together and really make change happen.
He’s got 10 years, starting from now.