Sudan, UN Hasn't Reached Jebel Marra, Pre-Spins Election
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 22 -- Weeks after reports of civilians being killed in
Jebel Marra in Darfur, the UN has still not managed to visit the
area, Inner City Press has been told. After twice asking about the
issue in UN noon briefings, at a background briefing on March 19 by
two senior UN officials about Sudan's upcoming elections, the failure
to visit Jebal Marra was acknowledged. Later this came in writing:
Matthew, Kindly find hereby the answer to your question asked during
noon briefing regarding Jebel Marra : Has UNAMID accessed Jebel Marra
since the recent incident involving the Blue Helmets?
Mission is hoping to materialize a security assessment in the next
week with a view to then sending humanitarians."
briefing in advance of the April 11 elections in Sudan left
correspondents scratching their heads. To many, it appeared that
following the bad publicity the UN Mission in Afghanistan got, on
phantom polling places and the like, the UN wants to "get out in
front of the issue" in Sudan, and disclaim any responsibility
us to judge," said one of the senior UN officials. "Our
role is not as observers."
asked about blatant attacks on the press and on the ability of
candidates to speak to the public. For example, Sadiq al-Mahdi being
unable to broadcast, the National Press Council of Sudan grilling two
editors for insulting Omar al-Bashir, a radio station in Juba shut
down for a time.
UN's Ban and Sudan Bashir in past: congratulations
on your election?
official said that each incident was raised, behind the scenes, to
the Sudanese authorities, presumably by new UNMIS chief Haile
Menkerios. But if the trends of crackdown is raised but just
continues, does the UN go public?
* * *
Sudan Grabs Ballot Printing, UNMIS Is Only T.A., Ban Has
Nothing to Say
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 15 -- The UN and its leadership have said that the
elections in Sudan are a main focus for 2010, for their UNMIS mission
which spends $1 billion a year.
when a major
opposition party asks UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to look into
and act on allegations that the printing ballots for the election was
shifted from Slovenia to a government-connected printer in Sudan,
UNMIS says it only provides technical assistance, and Ban's spokesman
defers to UNMIS.
March 15 told Inner City Press, "UNMIS has a very clear
mandate." But does it? Even the chief of the UN Department of
Field Support has said the mandate should be expanded (or is being
too narrowly read).
will take the UN presence in Sudan
and partial participation in the election as some assurance against
the worst of irregularities, is it appropriate for the UN to say "we
only provide technical assistance"?
In Juba, registering to vote in 2009, per UN - fair
ballot 2010 not shown
asked for the UN Secretariat's response to Sudan's opposition
Reform and Renewal Party's... concern
over alleged switching the
process of printing voting slips from abroad to presses inside Sudan
that belong to the NCP — a move they would lead to duplicate papers
and ballot box stuffing... URRP leader Mubarak Al-Fadil said in a
statement that the NEC acknowledged this with the consent of Ray
Kennedy, Chief Electoral Affairs Officer for the UN Mission in Sudan...
from the UN Secretary General on the actions of the UN official and
his contribution towards fraud. We will submit a complaint to the UN
Secretary General based on the response of the [NEC] commission
memo.'... The commission said a bid for printing the voting slips was
advertised and two Sudanese companies secured it and that due to time
constraints one set of the cards was diverted from a Slovenian
company to a Sudanese one stressing that at each step this process
was made with the participation of UNMIS elections office."
a press release by UNMIS, picked
up by Sudanese state media for the
proposition tha the UN is only providing "technical assitance."
But Inner City Press asked, what is Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's
response to the Umma Party's request, directed to him by name, for an
investigation? Video here,
from Minute 14:47.
"UNMIS is on the ground... they provide guidance back to
headquarters." Some thought that "guidance" is
supposed to come from the leadership of the Organization. The mission
on the ground might feed information back to headquarters, but
ultimately UN Headquarters and Ban Ki-moon are responsible, no?
missive has been directed to the S-G," Nesirky said, "I'm
sure some response will be made." He added he was not aware of
any such "missive." Umma has said it will "submit a
complaint to the UN Secretary General" -- what is the protocol?
Watch this site.
Inner City Press asked a Sudanese government representative about the
ballot printing issue, and he responded by saying that the Umma Party
is mad at the UN because Ban's most recent report was "too pro
government." He and Khartoum like this.
* * *
S. Sudan Post, UN Mulled Hilde Johnson and Khare, Menkerios
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 22 -- How did the UN settle
on Haile Menkerios as
its top envoy to South Sudan? Inner City Press has been told, by an
extremely well placed source, that the UN put forward other names:
UNICEF's Hilde Johnson, Indian diplomat Atul Khare who served in
Timor L'este, as well as "a Tanzanian." That Ms. Johnson's hat was in
the ring implies she already knew she would not get the top post at
UNICEF, for which the U.S. has nominated Anthony Lake.
the UN for the Sudan post was former South African ambassador to the
UN Dumisani Kumalo. Sudan let it be known that it would only accept
so, the source
said, Ban Ki-moon decided on Menkerios. "He is from Eritrea, but
he was given the job as South African." Some say that means he
cannot differ with Thabo Mbeki, former South African president and
now Sudan intermediary. It also shows that the UN has very few people
who understand anything about Africa, said the source.
Atul Khare and Dumisani Kumalo, Menkerios not shown
Ibrahim Gambari is installed in the joint African Union - UN Mission
in Darfur, finally the Enough Project chimes in with questions, in a
column by Colum Lynch, the UN blogger at Foreign Policy. But when
Inner City Press asked the Enough Project for any comment on Gambari,
after he was offered but had been been confirmed for the job, the
Project had no comment. On November 30, 2009 we asked
for Enough Project's position on the UN giving Ibrahim Gambari the
UNAMID SRSG post, as we've exclusively reported earlier today
position, on Mr. Gambari and how he was reportedly selected, as soon
as you can for inclusion.
Re: Press Q re Darfur appointment of Gambari, past deadline
From: eread [at] enoughproject.org
To: Inner City
Sent: 12/1/2009 12:32:55 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
for your query. I'm sorry that most of my policy team is travelling
or on vacation. We won't be able to provide anyone for an interview.
co-founder belatedly chimes in of Gambari, "it's still to be
seen whether he will be able to have any impact or whether he will
simply be another placeholder in a long line of people who have had
almost no impact on the situation in Sudan."
one observer snarked, waiting two
and a half months to comment undermines an NGO's possible impact on
the situation in Sudan...