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On Uganda, After ICP Asks UN of Kasese Killings, Late Ban Ki-moon Statement

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 29 -- With the UN of Ban Ki-moon having stopped paying attention to or answering questions on numerous armed conflicts and scandals around the world and inside the UN itself, on November 28 Inner City Press asked Ban's outgoing spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Uganda. UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: on Uganda, there's been some pretty publicized fighting between the Government and a… I guess, a pre-national border kingdom in the country.  Fifty-five people dead.  A journalist arrested.  And I wanted to know whether the UN has… has… has anything to say about that, if the Resident Coordinator's gotten involved.  And, separately, but I forgot to ask you this on Burundi, there's reports of a letter from the… the opposition, CNARED and others, the Rassamblement de Democrat Burundi, to Ban Ki-moon asking for a UN mediator to replace President [Yoweri] Museveni of Uganda as saying that this has led nowhere.

Spokesman:  I'll check.  I have not seen the letter, and I don't have anything on Uganda.  Thank you.

   Thanks for what? Inner City Press, getting nothing from the UN Spokesperson's office over the next 24 hours, including on the UN's use of funds and Ban's Communications chief Cristina Gallach getting a personal award as a “journalist” while evicting and restricting the Press, on November 29 asked again, video here, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you again about Uganda.  Yesterday I'd asked you about this, 55 dead.  Now it's 87.  It's a pretty major thing in the world…  [Cross talk]

Spokesman:  I agree with you.  I'm waiting for some language.  I would have expected to have received it by now. 

  And moments later Dujarric was brought and read out this statement: “On Uganda, we've obviously learned with great concern the reports of clashes between the Ugandan Police and the royal guards of Charles Wesley Mumbere, the tribal king… the tribal Rwenzururu King, which resulted in the loss of life.  The Secretary-General calls on all parties to resolve their differences peacefully and refrain from all actions and statements likely to exacerbate tension.”

Back on June 9, Ban Ki-moon's meeting with Uganda's Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda was announced, at least to the press, only hours before it happened. Inner City Press, remembering Rugunda from his time as Ugandan Ambassador while the country was an elected member of the Security Council, went for the photo-op. Periscope video here, pre photo here, staged handshake here.

   With Ban were only two other UN officials, compared to four on the Ugandan side, including the Deputy Permanent Representative who helped a Ugandan videographer get to the photo op. More than three hours later, Ban's Spokesman Stephane Dujarric issued this read-out:

“The Secretary-General expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the continued sacrifices made by the Ugandan troops of AMISOM in Somalia, and emphasized the critical importance of AMISOM staying the course against Al-Shabaab for the sake of Somalia and regional security. He also commended Uganda’s efforts to address the situation in Burundi, underlining that Burundi remains a continuing priority concern for the UN.

“Regarding South Sudan, the Secrurity-General urged regional countries to stay fully engaged with the two leaders and impress upon them the need the implement the peace agreement fully and without delay. The Secretary-General conveyed his concerns about recent allegations of serious human rights violations, including sexual exploitation and abuse, involving Ugandan forces in the Central African Republic. He also raised the case of the opposition leader, Mr Kizza Besigye.”

  What about Western Sahara, a topic on which Rugunda spoke passionately while on the Security Council? The reference to Burundi rings hollow; the criticism tacked onto the end is inevitably seen in light of Ban's decision to drop shame-listing of Saudi Arabia after financial threats. Are only poorer countries to be criticized?

It must also be seen in light of Ban's UN's pretextual targeting and eviction of the Press, New York Times here, petition with 1500 signatures (ignored by UN so far) here"Aide Memoire" here.

 This is the dynamic, the erosion, that Ban Ki-moon has opened up. Watch this site.


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