Nairobi Snub of Africa and
Women Shows Planning Chaos, Audit Cover-up, Sources Say
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, March 3 -- As hundreds
of UN staff members in Kenya marched in protest of Secretary-General
Ki-moon's sudden decision to substitute in the top UN top in Nairobi a
man, Achim Steiner, for Tanzanian Anna Tibaijuka, the lack of thought
into the substitution began to emerge in New York. Inner City
Press on March 2
asked Under Secretary General for Management Angela Kane who was
that day in
charge in Nairobi. Ms. Kane replied that "Mr. Achim Steiner was
Director-General of UNON, effective 1 March.... could you please ask
questions at the noon briefing? - I just
cannot respond to individual queries in view of the heavy demands on my
At the March 3 noon briefing, Inner
City Press asked Ban's Deputy
Spokesperson Marie Okabe, video here
from Minute 10:20
announced now that the replacement of Ms. Tibaijuka by Mr. Steiner in
Nairobi. There are reports
of a staff protest of that action. So
am wondering if the UN… first of all you said because of rotation. Where else has the Secretary-General
instituted rotation and has he received, beyond just the staff protest,
received any enquiries from African countries or the African Group
switching a UN office in Africa from an African to a German, and from a
to a man?
Spokesperson Okabe: I am not aware of
any other protests received, and the issue of rotation and mobility is
something that the Secretary-General has put very highly on his agenda
took office. This is something that he’s
been promoting for staff throughout the UN system and I think that, as
mentioned today, this is in view of that vision of his. And
in terms of Ms. Tibaijuka’s service, I
just want you to look at the press release that was issued in Nairobi.
There were several problems. While Ms.
been in place atop
UNON for two and a half years before being rotated out, the head of the
Office in Geneva, a Russian man named Sergei
Ordzhonikidze, has been in place for seven years. If there is
a policy of rotation, it is selective, it appears.
Second, while a press release was belated
Nairobi, Mr. Steiner
himself was reportedly not in Nairobi.
UN's Tibaijuka presses flesh for UN in Beijing,
thanks for nothing
Consider the following, presented by
Inner City Press and its team as Q&A then comment:
-- At this moment, who is the
officer in charge of UNON? [answer: reporetdly, a D1 from the Food and
-- What is the view of staff at
UNON about the removal of Tibaijuka as DG? [answer: 1000 of them
today in Nairobi, an act of great courage given the UN's history as
-- What is the status the OIOS
management audit of UNON now that the SG has removed the DG? Will
OIOS management audit be discontinued? [Answers unknown, but questions
that should be answered]
-- Has the SG responded to
requests from the Africa Group to reconsider his decision to remove the
--The SGB on UNON has been
for the purposes of removing
the DG and without
with member States or OLA.
--The results are threefold: integrity
of the UN and its administrative
instruments is damaged; the UN
operating without consultation with member States as if the UN were a
company, and the
SGB is legally weak,
ambiguous and reflects indecent haste.
--One manifestation is the
problem of who serves as OIC when the DG is away on mission or leave;
it is not
clear who serves as OIC when the DG is the second most senior person in
former DG is now more senior than the present DG
and can therefore not serve as OIC.
--This problem occurred
immediately as the new DG elected to travel on official mission after
as DG for only 9 hours on 2 March 2009 (itself a questionable move);
for Management Angela Kane demanded that the former DG serve as OIC not
realizing the legal contradictions in the new, hastily prepared SGB.
The old DG
expressed the legal impossibility of her serving as OIC for the new DG,
concerns were left unanswered. In the impending state of confusion, the
attempted to identify another OIC, first by approaching the ASG for
Inga Klevby, who refused saying that she saw now statutory basis or
administrative guidelines that would allow her to serve as OIC. Frustrated,
the DG searched and searched and
eventually found a D-1, FAO Representative to agree to serve as OIC for
--The third largest duty station
of the UN with over 5,000 employees is currently being run by a D-1
prior knowledge of UNON and under ambiguous statutory authority.
--All this comes at a time when
all key senior staff of UNON are conspicuously absent. The
DG is on mission. The Head of UNON Administration is on vacation.
The head of Security is on mission.
We will have more on this,
including the security
aspect. Watch this
Footnote: Spain's Minister for
Equality Ms. Bibiana Aido Almagro spoke to the Press Tuesday morning in
of the UN Security Council. Inner City Press asked for her and Spain's
the replacement of Anna Tibaijuka by Achim Steiner.
She said that it is important to
"incorporate women... especially now." Video here,
from Minute 4:50. Inner
City Press followed up, does the UN need the type of Equality Plan that
now requires of large companies. Apparently it does. Watch this site.
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
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