UN's Ban Moves to Switch Top
Nairobi Post from Tanzanian to German
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, February 27 -- The
UN's Ban Ki-moon, just as he travels through Africa, has quietly
changed a rule
allowing the removal of Tanzanian Anna Tibaijuka as head of the UN's
Nairobi and her replacement by a German, Achim Steiner. Secretary-General's
2009/3, which was published on February 26 and which Inner
City Press asked
Ban's Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe about on February 27, changes
Until now, "the Office [wa]s headed by a
at the Under-Secretary-General level, who is the most senior
among the Heads of the United Nations Programmes headquartered at the
station, namely, UNEP and UN-Habitat."
Thus, the Director-General of UNON was Anna
Tibaijuka. She wrote the
UN's report on Robert Mugabe's "Operation Take Out the Trash" in
Zimbabwe, and finessed questions about the UN taking sides in the
election in Kenya between Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki. She has strong
from the UN staff who work in the Nairobi duty station.
Now, under the Bulletin
Ban has just put out and that goes into effect
on March 1, "the Office is headed by a Director-General, at the
Under-Secretary-General level, designated by the Secretary-General from
the heads of United Nations programmes headquartered at the duty
namely, UNEP and UN-Habitat."
It is noted that following the recent
ceremony in which Ban's Under Secretaries General signed "compacts"
with him, Tibaijuka does not appear to have signed a compact to
remain as head
of UNON. Others note that Ban's USG for Management Angela Kane is
German, as is
Achim Steiner, who is privileged by Ban's quiet switch.
UN's Ban and Anna Tibaijuka, rule change and Steiner not shown
This takes place against a backdrop in which Ban
sought to eliminate the
post of Special Advisor on Africa, a move opposed by the Group of 77
and the Africa Group. In the budget debate in December
2008, the General
Assembly directed Ban to henceforth appoint a new Special Advisor on
which he has yet to do. Ban's team has not explained either that move,
one. Some call it, diplomatically, tone-deaf, or surmise that Ban is
At the UN's noon briefing on February
27 Inner City Press asked Ban's
Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Okabe
Press: in yesterday’s Journal there was an announcement in a new
Secretary-General Bulletin about how the UN Office in Nairobi is
organized. And it is my understanding
that it actually would result in currently the most senior of HABITAT
is running the Office in Nairobi, and that the new policy the
would get to choose between the two. Is
that accurate and is it his intention to switch Nairobi from Ms.
Mr. Achim Steiner?
Spokesperson Okabe: If the
Secretary-General’s Bulletin is what you read that’s all I have for you
Press: Well, what’s the rationale of changing the existing policy under
an African official runs the Africa office of the UN to a policy that
have it the other way?
Spokesperson: I have nothing beyond what
you read in the Bulletin.
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