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On Burundi, Kafando As Part Time Envoy Scoop by ICP Confirmed, But Sweden Says Full-Time

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series

UNITED NATIONS, May 8 -- That Michel Kafando was being pushed as (part-time) UN envoy on - but not in - Burundi was first reported by Inner City Press on April 20. After repeated no-comments, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on May 5 confirmed the appointment. Inner City Press immediately asked, is it part-time? Yes: transcript below. But when UN Security Council member Sweden's Permanent Representative Olof Skoog entered the Council on May 8 and Inner City Press asked him about Kafando being part-time, Skoof expressed surprise, saying "I think this is a full time job." UNTV boom mic video, put on YouTube by Inner City Press, here. So did the UN Secretariat (and penholder France) not tell Security Council members this important information about the When Actually Employed envoy to Burundi, a country where the UN says there is a risk of genocide? Now the Pierre Nkurunziza government's Ambassador to the UN Albert Shingiro insists that Kafando was not named Special Envoy on Burundi but Special Envoy "in general who Guterres could send to Burundi or elsewhere." Photo of Shingiro's tweet here. This is a new low, on which we'll have more. From the May 5 transcript: Inner City Press:  I want to ask you about Kafando.  So, I guess, now that you have confirmed it, can you say… will you say whether it is, in fact, a part-time "when actually employed" appointment and whether the Secretary-General has agreed with the [Pierre] Nkurunziza Government that the office will close by the end of year, as some involved in the process say?

Spokesman:  I'm not aware of any agreement to close any office.  What I can tell you is that his post will be "when actually employed".  He'll be based in Burkina Faso.  However, he'll be back-stopped and have office support, political staff based here in New York.

Inner City Press:  Was the Secretary-General… did he speak with Pierre Nkurunziza or attempt to?

Spokesman:  There was no phone call between him and the Secretary-General I can report...

Inner City Press: What would you say to people that's… how does this compare to the previous focus of the Secretariat through the Special Adviser on conflict prevention, including Burundi, to this?  Some people are saying this is a… the reason the Government was so quick to accept it is that it's… and I think it's public knowledge that the Government has been blocking visas and raising a lot… why… that they accepted it because this is actually a downshifting or downgrading of focus.  Is that… how would you respond to that?

Spokesman:  No, I think appointing someone who is as experienced as Mr. Kafando from… we all know from his time here, a former head… African Head of State, I would not interpret it as downgrading at all.

   But one can imagine former and current heads of state whom Nkurunziza would be quite happy with. And in fact, via spokesman Claude Karerwa Ndenzako, Nkurunziza has already made public the leash put on Kafando, and that it seems Antonio Guterres has agreed to: "if he does like Benomar, we will challenge the appointment and wish him good luck elsewhere." More here, in French, h/t Esdras Ndikumana. We'll have more on this. While on Burundi the UN Secretariat has still refused to confirm its proposal of Michel Kafando as part-time envoy, it still has or provides no information about the disappearance of a Burundian working with it, nor so far on visas denied. Inner City Press is informed that not only would Kafando be part time ("When Actually Employed") - his mandate, at the demand of the Pierre Nkurunziza government, would end by the end of the year, and the UN office move out. Even with these concessions, sources tell Inner City Press, Guterres' attempt to reach Nkurunziza on the telephone was rebuffed. Guterres' lack of transparency, as on reported attempts to reach Cameroon's long time president Paul Biya, is troubling more and more people, as are the (non) answers of its Department of Public Information to the lack of any due process protections for the Press. On visas, Inner City Press late on April 27 was informed that Department of Political Affairs spokesman "Jose Luis" was belated drafting a statement. But Guterres' holdover spokesman Dujarric has still not answered the question. Which makes the UN's abandonment of its prospective landlord Oscar Ntasana all the more outrageous. Before Ntasana's "disappearance," Inner City Press is informed by sources, Burundian authorities harassed him, accusing him of digging tunnels to DRC, arresting workers on his property before he was disappeared. And now the UN says nothing: shameful. As is the deal with Albert Shingiro by Jeffrey "Everything Must Go" Feltman that Kafando, even part-time,would have a job on Burundi only to the end of 2017. Acquiescence in genocide: hasn't the UN done this before? On April 27 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I’d asked you, I think, on Monday about Michel Kafando as envoy to Burundi.  And now the media there is reporting that he has taken the job le remplacement Jamal Benomar en fin de mandat.  So I’m just wondering, what… what…

Spokesman:  I think the announcement of a remplacement/no remplacement will come from here, so people are free to speculate until there’s an official announcement either in paper or from myself, from the Secretary-General himself.

Inner City Press:  Unless it comes from Mr. Kafando.

Spokesman:  I think I just answered that.

Inner City Press:  Okay.  What I wanted to ask is that I’d asked about Burundi, and there’s some people there… it’s a pretty big story in the country that this Oscar Ntasano, who was renting his property to the UN, has… had his driver killed and is… is missing.  So people are saying basically he was targeted because he was working with the UN.  What I wanted to know, is there anyone in the UN system looking into this disappearance?

Spokesman:  I can’t…  I haven’t gotten any specific information from our colleagues in Burundi.  Obviously, I think anyone’s murder or disappearances needs to be investigated.

Inner City Press:  And the D2 Vivian van de Perre…

Spokesman:  I don’t have any… I don’t have any update for you on that.

  And even the "open" meeting of the Burundi Peacebuilding Configuration on April 26, Inner City Press was banned by UN Security then a PBC staffer. On April 24 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: in Burundi, a gentleman named Oscar Ntasano, who is running a building… a set of buildings that the UN has… has used and was being renovated for him has been abducted, and some people believe that he's dead.  He was abducted, and a car of his was found with a dead body in it.  So, I'm wondering, does the UN… and people there are saying this is a person that was basically maybe targeted because he was seeking to rent his property to the UN.  What's the UN's response?

Spokesman:  I don't know.  I've not heard of this gentleman.  I can see if I find out anything.

Inner City Press:  And also, I mean, in terms of not hearing things, I wanted to know whether the…?

Spokesman:  That's my specialty.

Inner City Press: Yeah, whether the D-2 head of office of… for the UN in Burundi has… my understanding is that it's been six months that she's tried… she's tried to get into the country, but I'm wondering, what… from the top levels of the… has the 38th Floor… has anyone tried to speak to the country to actually get this being-paid D2 head of office in Burundi into the country, or is this a de facto persona non grata?

Spokesman:  If you send me the name, I can check on the status.

 Inner City Press immediately emailed the name, and the next day on April 26 asked, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: On Burundi, I gave you the name of the D2 head of office…

Spokesman:  I don’t have anything for you on Burundi.

Question:  And I wanted to know, there was a meeting of the Peacebuilding Commission on Burundi today downstairs.  It wasn’t listed in the Journal as closed; sign didn’t say it was closed, but security said could not be covered by the media.  And I wanted to know what… what… what is the policy of… of those meetings?  And why isn’t that… why was security blocking coverage…? [inaudible]

Spokesman:  I don’t know if the meeting was open or closed.  I’d be happy to look into it.

 Like he looked into the D2 blocked name? By the end of April 26, when Inner City Press was by the UN Department of Public Information removed from covering the UN's Africa Peacekeeping meeting, there was no answer.

UNICEF has after five days answered Inner City Press on the hate-speech government in the UNICEF shirt. On April 20, Inner City Press asked: "please state what the rules are for use of UNICEF's logo, in this instance on the joint Burundi / UNICEF shirt worn in this photo worn by the governor of Makamba province who last week called on residents to 'eliminate' rebels so fuel 'won't be wasted by having them transferred to the police.' How does UNICEF feel to be associated with hate speech in this way? Did UNICEF give the governor this shirt?" On April 25, UNICEF spokesperson Joe English responded: "On Burundi, please find below a response to your questions. * Please state what the rules are for use of UNICEF's logo? The unauthorized use of the UNICEF name and logo is against international law and is expressly forbidden. How does UNICEF feel to be associated with hate speech in this way?
UNICEF condemns all forms of hate speech.
Did UNICEF give the governor this shirt?
The t-shirt was part of the education campaign, which took place in September 2015 as the new government was being established. As such, this would have been the period when Gad Niyukuri was transitioning from his past role to his new one, and he would quite naturally still have been involved in the back-to-school campaign and therefore received one of the t-shirts for the campaign. The photo does not have any relationship with the news item of April 2017." And there it is. It is reported that "According to the residents of the Kazirabageni zone, Gad Niyukuri would have urged residents to eliminate the rebels "instead of wasting fuel by transferring them to the police.'"

   On Burundi, France which as UN Security Council penholder has accomplished little on the issue has a new proposal, sources exclusively told Inner City Press, which it exclusively published on April 20: to nominate the former transitional president of Burkina Faso Michel Kafando as a UN envoy specifically on Burundi. And now Burundi's Ambassador to the UN Albert Shingiro has answered Inner City Press that "Burundi is very comfortable with the intention of the UNSG to appoint H.E Michel Kafando as his special Envoy." See reply tweet, here. Now the Pierre Nkurunziza government's approval of a "Special Envoy" is explained to Inner City Press with disgruntled Security Council sourcing as due to Kafando's position being part time, "When Actually Employed," based in Burkina Faso with human rights not to be mentioned. On April 24, Inner City Press asked UN holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric again about it, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Burundi, I’d asked you on Friday about the proposal, which is now by… to name Michel Kafando as an envoy to Burundi.  You said you had no comment.  Since then, the Ambassador of Burundi has told me that the Government supports the proposal.  It seems like it’s clearly a proposal.  But what I wanted to ask you and I’d like you… maybe… if not from this podium, before it’s finalized, is it, in fact, when actually employed, a part-time position that’s being proposed?  And, if so, can you explain what I’m told that DPA [Department of Political Affairs], when it informed Council members of the proposal, didn’t mention that it’s part time?  So I think it’s important to know, what is the proposal?

Spokesman:  I will try to find out more information.  I have nothing from here. 

  Again, nothing. And ever more dwindling commitment to human rights or even just transparency. The source says the Security Council members told of the appointment were NOT told it was "When Actually Employed." We'll have more on this.

After publishing the exclusive, on April 21 Inner City Press asked French Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre about it. He smiled and said "bonne question." Then Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who refused to comment. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask you on Burundi.  Inner City Press has reported and I believe has some confirmation from the French Mission that there is a proposal by France and possibly the EU for an UN envoy to Burundi, specifically Burundi only, not conflict prevention:  Michel Kafando, the former transitional President of Burkina Faso, and I wanted to know from you whether the Secretary-General has discussed this proposal with the proponents and if he thinks given the urgency of the situation if it’s a good idea and what the next steps would be?

Spokesman:  I have no comments on that.

  But later on April 21 a UN official told Inner City Press that Burundi's Pierre Nkurunziza has approved it. Another diplomat told Inner City Press that Burundi's Ambassador Albert Shingiro was summoned to the UN Department of Political Affairs. We'll have more on this. The UN has sunk so low that the lead spokesman for Secretary General Antonio Guterres Stephane Dujarric on April 10 refused to even take a Press question about Burundi, where the UN itself says there is a risk of genocide. When Inner City Press said "Can I ask a question about Burundi," where there increased hate speech amid a warning from other parts of the UN of a threat of genocide," Dujarric replied, "No, we're done." Video here, contrasted

 Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a delayed February 23 report says, of Pierre Nkurunziza, "an attempt by the president to seek a fourth term in office under the current circumstances would risk intensifying the crisis and undermining collective efforts to find a sustainable solution."

 Burundi's Ambassador to the UN Albert Shingiro, hitting back at even the use of the term "four term," tweeted: "With the intention of destabilizing #Burundi in 20 the same axis of evil that failed regime change in15,invents another magic word'4th term'."

  On February 27, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Dujarric about this quote, and for a second time about the UN training Burundi security forces in CAR on drone usage. Dujarric said he didn't think of the UN as in an axis of evil. He didn't answer on the fourth term, word invention, or the UN providing drone training. We'll have more on this.

   Pressed, Shingiro has said he wasn't calling Antonio Guterres part of an Axis of Evil, since he wasn't UN Secretary General in 2015. But could hapless, corruption plagued Ban Ki-moon be a part? More like the Axis of Mediocrity.

 And did Guterres really "invent" fourth term as a "magic word"? Or wouldn't a Pierre Nkurunziza run for election in 2020 be a run for a fourth term? How will the UN react to this? For now, Guterres spokesman Dujarric - who has previously been the face not only for AoE Ban Ki-moon but also Kofi Annan before that - won't answer the most basic question. Dujarric too is a fourth term man. We'll have more on this -- and this, that Shingiro previously outed his own second Twitter account by tweeting a photo with the UN's evicter in chief Cristina Gallach, here. Axis of Evil, indeed.

 Now the UN is training the Burundi security forces in how to use drones; Army spokesman Gaspard Baratuza -- himself repatriated from the UN Mission in the Central African Republic after Inner City Press questions (credited on here) bragged about it and refused to answer about Burundi's use of drones.

  So Inner City Press on February 24 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric why Herve Ladsous' UN is training this already problematic Burundi contingent in the use of drones. Video here from 25:50. Dujarric didn't substantively respond to that question and on Inner City Press next question about Ladsous, Dujarric ran off the podium and out of the room. UN DPI under Cristina Gallach produced a video with the audio of the question cut, see here at end. This is today's UN.

  In Burundi, government electricity and water authority (Regideso) employee Lydia Nibogora was murdered and dumped. Sources Inner city Press has come to trust say it is because she blew the whistle on corruption. There should be an investigation, but where is the UN? We'll have more on this.

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