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At UN, Kenya - Guterres Spat Extends Into Open Meeting, SG Calls Kamau "Unfair"

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video

UNITED NATIONS, November 9 – In the Kenya elections the UN veered between being pro-Kenyatta, though its Resident Coodinatory Sid Chatterjee and others, to its Roselyn Akombe calling for a boycott of the second round. This last gave rise to a protest to Secretary General Antonio Guterres from Kenya's Ambassador to the UN, Macharia Kamau, first reported by Inner City Press. Now we have this: at a General Assembly meeting that was opened after Inner City Press twice asked (and it told the UN it would Periscope, video here), Kamau raised some criticisms of Guterres' reform plans. Then Guterres, in response, called the critique "sincerely unfair" and claimed the UN did nothing to call into question its impartiality. Guterres is aware of what Akombe did, and is said to be requesting an investigation of it. So why be who defensive? We'll have more on this. After the Kenya elections results the UN praised on August 12 were thrown out on September 1, Inner City Press immediately asked the three top spokespeople of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for comment. There was none then, and when Guterres took some media questions on September 5, Inner City Press loudly asked Guterres if he has any update to its praise of Kenya's reversed electoral win by Uhuru Kenyatta. Video here. The strange tenure of Roselyn Akombe, put on "special leave" by Guterres' (and Jeff Feltman's) UN to work on the IEBC, is over.  On November 8, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I just want to ask you again whether you'll, I guess, confirm or deny that… that the Secretary-General's requested an OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services] inquiry into the circumstances of the… of the leave without pay of Roselyn Akombe…?
Spokesman:  I'm not aware. Inner City Press:…several people on 38 have said… is it…? Spokesman:  You… the people on the 38th floor you talk to don't talk to me, so I'm not aware. Inner City Press: I guess, as matter of practice, given… given that this is the only way that UN staff can know what they can or cannot do, can you…? Spokesman:  No, no, if I become aware of things I can share with you, I can share, but I'm just not aware at all of this.  Okay?" No. On November 9, Inner City Press asked Kenya's Ambassador Kamau, who emphasized UN staff have a right to go on leave, but must still abide by UN rules. We'll have more on this.
On November 2, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, and he said she wasn't back, UN transcript here, and below. Then on November 3 he reversed himself, but dodged other Inner City Press questions. From the November 3 UN transcript: Dujarric: I wanted to say that I stand corrected on the status of Ms. Akombe within the United Nations.  Ms. Akombe returned to the UN earlier this week.  She had been on special leave without pay after being nominated by the Kenyan government to serve on the country’s electoral commission.  Following the end of that assignment late last month, Ms. Akombe requested to curtail the period of her special leave and resume her work for the Organization.  Regarding a supposed stipulation in her contract prohibiting her from speaking to the media, there is of course no such contract and no such stipulation in any UN contract.  According to the longstanding media guidelines for UN personnel, staff may speak to the media on their area of expertise and to provide factual information.  I was just not informed of that development. Inner City Press: I have other stuff, but on this Roselyn Akombe thing, I guess, I wanted… since I’d asked yesterday, so apparently, they did… it seems like the Nation did speak to her because that is how, that’s how it became public, and they did directly quote her as saying that she signed a new contract and that she’s not allowed to speak to the press about the Kenya elections.  I want to know did she, in fact, sign a new contract?  Will you confirm, given the fact that it appears clear that the Kenyan Ambassador demarched and said there was something wrong with the special leave without pay that was granted to go and work on an election and then call for the boycott of the election.  What has the Secretary-General learned from this?  Does he have any response to what the Kenyan Ambassador has raised, and why would she say it’s in the contract if it's not? Spokesman:  "I don't know.  I wasn't present when she gave the interview.  What I can tell you is the fact that there is, no UN contracts do not have gag rules or staff contracts do not have gag rules that prevent people speaking to the press.  There are media rules in place, people are encouraged to speak to the press in their areas of responsibility.  That is a fact and that stands.  Her special leave without pay was granted through the usual channels, and each case is examined on its merits." Yeah. From the November 2 transcript: Inner City Press: On Kenya,  I was told last week Farhan [Haq], that Roselyn Akombe is on leave until the end of the year and I had asked whether Ambassador [Macharia] Kamau had somehow démarched the Secretary-General about [Ms. Akombe’s] role on the IEBC (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) and things that she said.  I'm asking you now because I see an interview in the [Daily] Nation of Kenya quoting Roselyn Akombe as, "'Yes, I'm back at my old job, but I am prevented from talking to the press.  This was contained in the new contract I signed recently,' she said via phone."  Maybe they talked to the wrong Roselyn Akombe but… or maybe talking to the wrong spokesman, but did she get her job back?  Spokesman:  It's… that would be… I can't vouch for the veracity of the quotes, but that's not the information I have, but I will be happy to look at what the [Daily] Nation says." It's here. We're waiting. On October 26 Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, transcript here: Inner City Press:
Roselyn Akombe… this is the thing I wanted to ask on Kenya because it's about… so, I understand she doesn't currently… she was on leave of absence.  Her Twitter page identifies her as UN Secretariat, New York.  And my question is… although I don't necessarily… it's not a question of agreeing or disagreeing with the sentiment.  She's tweeted ElectionBoycottKE", which is obviously… it's a well-known hashtag in Kenya.  It seems to be, pretty clearly, contrary to the staff rules or contrary to… I can't imagine an Ethics Office ruling that would say, while you're on special leave from DPA [Department of Political Affairs], you can tweet:  boycott the election in Kenya.   So, what I wanted to know is, one, while she's on special leave, is she supposed to identify herself as UN Secretariat?  And two, is this consistent with whatever ethics exception was made at the request of Jeffrey Feltman to be tweeting "Boycott election KE" on the day of the election? Deputy Spokesman:  I wouldn't pronounce myself on anything that's an action by someone who is on leave.  If there's an issue for them upon their re-entry, we would have to resolve it with that staff member upon that point.  At this stage, like I said, she's on leave until the end of this year.  She… and so she does not act in UN capacity and shouldn't be identified as acting in a UN capacity. Inner City Press: So, she should… that should be removed… I mean, I'm wondering… can you see why the public sees UN Secretariat boycott election…? Deputy Spokesman:  "Well, what I'm saying, clearly, from here is that, at this point, she's not acting in a UN capacity.  You know, she is on special leave without pay, and that's been clear.  If… like I said, if there are any issues that the Ethics Office needs to deal with, I will leave it to them to handle that." Right. On October 25, Inner City Press asked UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Even before the Raila Odinga announcement, there was this controversy around the courts.  I know that the UN and AU have called for, you know, obeying the courts, the rule of law.  In order to rule… to rule on a request to postpone the election, it seems that some judges were definitely delayed if not physically attacked to… to… to bring about a problem with quorum.  So, I'm wondering, is the UN actually… it's… it's… it made its statement.  Is it following that?  Does it believe that the Supreme Court was able to deal in a fair and partial and unimpinged way with… with the request to postpone the election? Deputy Spokesman:  We're aware of the reports, but we don't have any way of verifying those particular reports of harassment.  We want to make sure, however, that all those involved, including the court system, are treated with respect and are able to go about their work without any hindrance." Can't confirm? Where is Silent Sid Chatterjee, the son in law of Ban Ki-moon who put him atop the UN in Kenya without recusal? On October 23, Inner City Press UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq about it, UN transcript here: This, again, goes back to Ms. [Roselyn] Akombe, because, since Friday, there's been an article in the Nation in Kenya in which Raila Odinga is quoted as saying he was in, quote, constant contact with… with Ms. Akombe, you know, speaks about death threats.  But, in any case, it really calls into question the… the… the… it would seem important since she is… at least was and presumably still has a post at the UN, to have some kind of disclosure of what… how this took place.  I asked on Friday whether the Kenyan ambassador, Mr. [Macharia] Kamau, demarched António Guterres for the entire situation around Ms. Akombe.  He said he wasn't aware of a meeting.  So now, three days later, can you confirm that?  Because people upstairs, that's what they say. Spokesman:  I have no meeting to confirm, as I pointed out the last time you asked this.  Regarding Ms. Akombe, she is on leave and will continue to be on leave through to the end of this year. Inner City Press: My question is this.  Okay.  That's helpful.  But my… there's a staff rule that says that staff shouldn't engage in politics.  And I understand that it's said that she got a waiver in order to go initially to work at the [IEBC], but is that… is that a carte blanche? Is it something that needs to be sort of updated? Because you could… in… in… in principle, working for IEBC could not be a violation, but once it became as political as it did, was there any second review by the Ethics Office of whether this was putting the UN in an… in an unfortunate and… and… position in Kenya? Spokesman:  I'm aware that the staff member in question did work with the Ethics Office and keep them informed as she was taking her special leave." We'll have more on this. Inner City Press asked about criticism of Guterres, including on the 38th floor, at noon on October 20. By 6 pm, Guterres' Department of Public Information now run by Alison Smale had sent Inner City Press a letter threatening its accreditation, based on the embarrassment of a UN official of what he said, and undefined reporting while on the 38th floor. (Haq refused to answer on this; we'll have more). On October 22, this: "The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, continue to closely monitor developments in Kenya, in the light of the forthcoming presidential election.  Recalling the ruling of the Supreme Court of Kenya of 1 September ordering the holding of a new presidential election, the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the Commission express the United Nations’ and African Union’s commitment to assist Kenya in ensuring a credible and transparent process and upholding the constitutional process. In this respect, they call on all stakeholders to cooperate with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), as the constitutionally-mandated body to conduct the election. " But IEBC figure Akombe, and the chair, cast doubt on the credibility of the election. Akombe's IEBC tenure should never have been, given this in the UN rules: "In view of the independence and impartiality that they must maintain, international civil servants, while retaining the right to vote, should not participate in political activities." On October 19, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric if Akombe is back working at UN DPA - no, he said - and if the UN shares her view on the October 26 election, that it cannot be credit. That's her view alone, the UN spokesman said. Video here. Now Inner City Press is exclusively informed that Kenya's Ambassador to the UN, though not disclosed Guterres' schedule, met with Guterres about Akombe, highly critically. We'll have more on this.

Akombe wrote: "My decision to leave the IEBC will disappoint some of you, but it is not for lack of trying. I have tried the best I could do given the circumstances. Sometimes, you walk away, especially when
potentially lives are at stake. The Commission has become a party to the current crisis. The
Commission is under siege. It has become increasingly difficult to continue attending plenary meetings where Commissioners
come ready to vote along partisan lines and not to discuss the merit of issues before them. It has
become increasingly difficult to appear on television to defend positions I disagree with in the name of collective responsibility. I have concluded that I am no longer making any significant contribution to the Commission and to my country as a Commissioner."
Now back to the UN as if nothing happened? On October 13, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Kenyatta's ban on protests and was told to ask the UN team in Kenya, headed by Siddharth Chatterjee the son in law of Dujarric's former boss and former UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, UN transcript here, and below. Chatterjee, who was given the job by his father in law without recusal and is inordinately close with the Kenyatta government, has said little. But now UN experts from Geneva have issued a statement that "Kenya must lift its newly-imposed ban on protests in key cities, end police brutality during demonstrations, and halt attacks on the judiciary and civil society in the tense run-up to presidential elections on 26 October. Even before this ban was imposed, we were witnessing a pattern of police brutality and excessive use of force against protesters, as well as consistent harassment of judges and threats to civil society. The ban means no protests can be held in parts of Kenya’s three largest cities - Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu - until further notice. The experts said there was currently an alleged climate of impunity for law enforcement officers.. They highlighted a recent incident on 28 September, when 27 students and staff at the University of Nairobi were reportedly injured when police used tear gas, beat them with wooden clubs, robbed them and threatened them with sexual violence.  A few days later, on 2 October, police reportedly used tear gas in a nursery in Nyalenda, injuring at least three children, while protests in some other parts of the country were also met with a heavy-handed response by security forces. The UN experts: Mr. Michel Forst, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Ms. Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Mr. Diego García-Sayán, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; Mr. Nils Melzer, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and Mr. David Kaye." Now if only UN experts would assess and spotlight those UN officials who are too close to, and cover up for governments who do these things, as in Myanmar, Cameroon and elsewhere. From the October 13 UN trancript: Inner City Press: You often say, you know, that the UN stands firmly behind the right to free association and… and protests.  Most recently, you said that about Gabon, but I wanted to ask you.  In Kenya very loudly the Government has outlawed protests in urban centres, so in a way, it's a pretty broad ban on protests, and I haven't heard anything that… that the UN in Kenya said about this.  Can you say from here why they haven’t said it from there? [cross talk] Spokesman:  "Well, our principle stands, and I think you have the phone numbers and email addresses of all my colleagues in Nairobi and you're free to ask them." Sid? Who blocks Inner City Press? On October 6, Inner City Press asked the President of the General Assembly's spokesman about Kenya(tta) foreign minister Amina Mohamed being now an advisor to the PGA, and some (mis) reporting in Kenya. Video here, from the PGA's summary: "Asked about media reports in Kenya that Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed now had a “UN job”, the Spokesperson clarified that membership on the Team of External Advisors did not mean that the advisors were United Nations employees or staff. They were serving in their own capacities without any salaries from the United Nations. Asked whether any team member would be lobbying the President on behalf of interests in their own countries, the Spokesperson stressed that the team members would only be advising on how to advance the President’s priorities and discussing global issues that were of concern to the President, the General Assembly and the United Nations in general." In Kenya the UN Development Program, run by Siddharth Chatterjee the son in law of Guterres' predecessor Ban Ki-moon, has quietly taken down the web page bragging about its role in the first round of elections, which Inner City Press cited on September 27. The next day, the webpage was gone. On October 5, after Sid as in his M.O. used a proxy to defend and promote himself, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric: UN Transcript here, Inner City Press: in Kenya, I did see…  I guess Farhan [Haq] sent a statement by the…  by the U…  the UN Information Centre there, but things…  I wanted to ask you about this, because we often hear from Gordon Brown in here about attacks on schools.  And there's been a widely reported teargassing of a nursery school in an attempt, I guess, to get the Raila Odinga NASA supporters a school…  a school was teargassed.  So, I'm wondering, does this…  is it only Gordon Brown's job in the UN system or is the UN… [cross talk] Spokesman:  "I have not seen that reported.  It is clear that we and the Secretary-General and others have spoken out whenever schools have been attacked, but I will look at that report." Seven hours later, nothing. Meanwhile, UNDP's head of governance Sheila Ngatia's twitter account, identifying her as UNDP, is "protected;" it is reported she is the daughter of Uhuru Kenyatta's lawyer. The UN is being exposed in Kenya, as being too close to the government as it is in Myanmar, Cameroon and elsewhere. And all the head of UN in Kenya Sid Chatterjee can do is issue threats to people's livelihoods; the UN in New York, rather than restricted Press for him, should fire or re-assign him. The New York City Bar Association has criticized Uhuru Kenyatta for his attacks on the judiciary, while the UN in New York and Nairobi, under Ban Ki-moon's son in law Sid, has remained tellingly silent. It was Chatterjee's UNDP which was still bragging online about its work on the election, including for "transparency." Like the transparency of Sid being promoted by his own father in law without recusal, then blocking and bad-mouthing the Press that reports on it? We'll have more on this. On September 25, Inner City Press asked Guterres's spokesman, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: In Kenya, the… the UN staff member on leave, Roselyn Akombe, has said she's facing death threats.  There's also reports of investigation of her role in the… in the Electoral Commission and the arrest of a… of a member of parliament for allegedly insulting the President, [Uhuru] Kenyatta.  I'm just wondering, what is the UN… the UN, since it has an office in Nairobi and is seeing these things take place, including the arrest of parliamentarians for verbal insults to the President, does the UN have any response to what's taking place…? Spokesman:  I don't have anything on that.  You're welcome to check also with the office in Nairobi." But the head of the UN office in Nairobi, Ban Ki-moon's son in law Siddharth Chatterjee, blocks Inner City Press. Back on September 5 Guterres stopped - and then bragged that his official letter (a belated one on Myanmar) will be in Dujarric's office. Not a single question, or even sentence, was about Africa, where most of the UN's peacekeeping operations are.
On September 11, Inner City Press asked Dujarric about Uhuru Kenyatta saying if Raila Odinga is elected president in the re-run election on October 17, his party will remove him from office: "even if he is elected, we have the opportunity in two months, three months to remove him." Dujarric wouldn't criticize even this, and refused Inner City Press' question on UN Roselyn Akombe, except to refer to some written request that has never been shown to the public. Then Dujarric walked off; see this. Back on September 5, three hours after Guterres refused its question, the UN sent Inner City Press this: "Regarding your question on the Kenyan election process, we have the following to say: The United Nations takes note of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the 8 August 2017 presidential elections. The Secretary-General's position, as conferred in previous statements and calls, has been that parties should take their grievances to Court and respect the Court’s decisions, which both Jubilee and NASA have demonstrated today. He reiterates his call on all political leaders and their supporters to respect and abide by the ruling of the Court, as the legal and constitutionally mandated body with the highest authority to decide on this matter." On September 7, Inner City Press asked Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Kenya obviously, the drought readout.  But, as I'm sure you know, beyond what you emailed after the Secretary-General's stakeout, the election results were thrown out, and now, there's an enormous fight around the Electoral Commission.   Given that there's one on-hiatus UN DPA [Department of Political Affairs] staffer on the commission and given that person being now ousted from the commission was a former UNDP staffer, there are many people in Kenya wondering what the… if the UN is, in fact, impartial in this case.  What is the UN's view of the… of the Electoral Commission dispute?  And is Ms. Roslyn Akombe still on…? Spokesman:  She's still on special leave.  I think the ruling of the Supreme Court is something we've taken note of.  I think the Secretary-General, in an interview that he did yesterday, I think said it was a sign of democracy, of the democratic process.  From the beginning, I think we have been calling on parties who had grievances to follow the legal pathways.  That has happened.  It is now up to the Kenyans and the established procedures to be followed. Inner City Press: So, I mean, just because as you may have seen, the President [Uhuru] Kenyatta of Kenya has called the head of the Supreme Court a "crook" and said that if he wins on a second term he will "take care of the Court".  So, does that… I didn't see this interview, but is that within… within… in keeping with the Secretary-General's saying that everyone is following the legal procedure? Spokesman:  "That would not be." The dubious August 8 electoral results have been thrown out by the Supreme Court, because the "Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission" IEBC) “failed, neglected or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the constitution." At the UN, Secretary General Guterres had very quickly congratulated August 8 "winner" Uhuru Kenyatta; since then Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric has dodged and then refused Inner City Press' questions. On the morning of September 1, Inner City Press asked Dujarric and his top two deputies: "On deadline, what are the comments of the Secretary General and, separately, of the UN's Resident Coordinator in Kenya, and the USG of DPA, on the throwing-out of the August 8 electoral “win” of Uhuru Kenyatta? Again, what is the status of Roselyn Akombe with the UN, especially now? Confirm or deny that the DPA post held by Taye Brook Zerihoun was offered to Monica Juma, and separately if, after August 8, she said she didn't (any longer?) want the position. Please now answer Inner City Press' August 28 questions about Kenya, and the entirely unanswered questions from August 29 and August 30. Please confirm receipt of this email." But Dujarric and his deputies didn't answer, didn't confirm receipt or even put out anything on Kenya. The UN is corrupt. Will Kenyatta still come speak at the UN General Assembly high level week on September 20, scheduled as put online by the Free UN Coalition for Access (also cracked down on by the UN), here? What of the cravenly pro-Kenyatta work of
UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya Siddharth Chatterjee, the son in law of former Secretary General Ban Ki-moon whom Ban gave the job without any recusal? When Inner City Press asked its questions, Chatterjee blocked Inner City Press on Twitter and UN Headquarters said that' fine. The UN has become a place of censorship for corruption. We'll have more on this. After the murder of Kenyan electoral official Chris Msando, Inner City Press on August 1 put the question at the UN to Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here and below.  Now on August 28, Inner City Press asked three UN spokespeople this: "In Kenya, it is reported that more than a dozen opposition supporters were killed in Kisumu. What is the Secretary General's, or UN Resident Coordinator Siddharth Chatterjee's, comment and action on this?" Hours after submission - the Spokesman canceled the noon briefing - while one line responses were offered to two other question, there was nothing on this, nothing at all. This is today's UN. After Kenya moved to de-register a second human rights group, Inner City Press asked lead UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric on August 15, UN transcript here and below. Inner City Press has learned, and exclusively reports, that Kenya(tta) foreign ministry official Monica Juma has been offered a top job in Jeffrey Feltman's UN Department of Political Affairs, to replace Taye-Brook Zerihoun. She was granted six months to "sit" on the job, to help Kenya(tta), as one source put it to Inner City Press.  On August 24, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Jeffrey Feltman, being in Somalia... they’re tweeting pictures of him with Farmajo.  But what I wanted to know is, given that he’s so close to Kenya and… is he… where else has he gone on this trip?  I was unaware that he was there.  And can we get some kind of a readout of this trip and whether or not it will include Kenya and… Kenya, if you have any update as more and more people are saying that the results that were put online don’t line up with what was announced and what the Secretary-General congratulated.  Is there any updated statement by the UN? Spokesman:  "Not, not from us here.  There’s a calendar which is playing itself out and there are institutions that are at work on this. And I’ll see what I can get you on Mr. Feltman." Which was, seven hour later, nothing. On August 21 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here. Five hours later, nothing. Now the dismissive or vague position of today's UN to press freedom is further exemplified by silence on the reported detention at gunpoint of blogger Robert Alai, here. The UN's resident coordinator in Kenya has for example blocked the critical Press on Twitter; UN Spokesman Farhan Haq on August 19 had no specific comment when Inner City Press asked about detentions by Morocco of citizen journalists reporting on the crackdown in Rif. (Lead UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric evicted Inner City Press and still restricts it, for its coverage in the Press Briefing Room of the UN bribery case against now-conficted Ng Lap Seng.) The UN is losing its way, including in Kenya. On August 18, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here. On August 17, amid lack of transparency about the detention and itinerary of a UN official on leave, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: as you may know in Kenya, the former or future DPA (Department of Political Affairs) employee Roselyn Akombe, who has given a leave of absence to work on the Electoral Commission there, attempted to leave the country and was detained at the airport. It’s now said that she’s come to New York for meetings.  So, I wanted to know two things.  Number one, is she having any meeting with the UN, since you said she’s coming to New York on official business?  Number two, when she was given this leave of absence — it’s become quite controversial.  As you know, the commission is getting sued for being not less than impartial — did the Ethics Office look at this granting of a leave of absence?  What’s her current status with the UN?  And, also, it’s come up because she appealed to the US embassy there.  For purposes of UN, is she from Kenya or from the United States?

Deputy Spokesman:  I wouldn’t have any comment on her nationality.  I don’t comment on the nationality of staff members. But… [inaudible]

Question:  Given that the person was detained and… okay.

Deputy Spokesman:  But I am aware that she was on a leave of absence.  At some point, I believe, fairly soon, it will be expiring and then she will return to her duties in the Department of Political Affairs.Question:  So she has no contacts in the UN during this week?  Because it’s a big story in Kenya that she’s come to New York and she says she coming to New York for work related to the election.  So, I guess my question to you is, does this New York visit have any UN connection?

Deputy Spokesman:  I wouldn’t comment on her work until she’s re-joined the United Nations.  She’s not… at the time that she’s on leave, she is a separate individual.  Ms. Akombe, at some point, will re-join the Department of Political Affairs, and then she’ll be a UN staffer.

  We'll have more on this - and on Juma. From August 15: Inner City Press: there've now been more than one NGO shut down at this period of time in which they could be filing petitions.  And there's many more… there are doubts whether… whether substantive or not, about how the results were transmitted.  So, beyond this Kenya National Human Rights Commission, something called Africog [phonetic] has also been suddenly deregistered by the… by the authorities.  That would be the winning candidate or the said to be winning candidate.  So, I just wanted to know, what… the country team there, what do they think of the closing down of the NGOs in the country during…

Spokesman:  I don't have enough information on these particular NGOs.  You can contact the country team directly.  I know you're been in contact with them.  What is clear for us is that there are constitutional means that need to be respected as part of the election for any appeals and, obviously, echo the High Commissioner's call for restraint and for peaceful… for supporting the right of people to demonstrate peacefully but a call for calm and restraint.

On August 14, Inner City Press asked Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: there were these two different statements, one about provisional results, then final results, but, in the country, one, how many people does the UN believe have been killed in post-election violence?  What's the UN's reaction to Raila Odinga asking for the UN to play some role in looking into fraud he says he's going to announce tomorrow, Tuesday?   And there's a group called the Kenya Human Rights Commission, which has been deregistered just before filing a petition concerning the election.  Does the UN believe that the current legal structures, especially if you have petitioners deregistered moments before filing, is a credible one?  What does the UN, given its presence in Nairobi, think about the deaths and this deregistration?

Deputy Spokesman:  Obviously, we're concerned about any violence.  As I just mentioned, what we've been doing, including through the Secretary-General, is calling on all political leaders to send clear messages to their supporters urging them to refrain from violence, and that's a key part of this process.  You're aware of our concerns in other previous elections, presidential elections in Kenya, and those concerns continue to apply.  Regarding Mr. Odinga's request, obviously, we'll wait to see what he has to say tomorrow and monitor that, but I would point out, as I just said, that the Secretary-General called on political leaders disputing the election results to address election-related disputes through the relevant constitutionally mandated institutions, and that is where we stand on that.

   On August 7, Inner City Press asked Dujarric about the deportation of two of Raila Odinga's consultants, American John Phillips, chief executive of political consultancy Aristotle, and Canadian Andreas Katsouris. Dujarric replied with generalities; Inner City Press asked, so the deportations are bad? There was no clear answer. Now this: on August 10 Inner City Press asked Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  In Kenya, Raila Odinga, the candidate, has said that there's been hacking of the system, but the President of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, has offered his congratulations.  What's the UN's view? One, do they think that the rule-of-law process to review is being conducted, is that process over?

Spokesman:  No, I, as far as I know, the, the official election results have yet to be announced.  We're, obviously, watching the situation unfold.  We're watching it closely.  As you know, the UN did not observe, did not have a role in observing the, the elections.  I think what's important is that all stakeholders, all people in Kenya, allow the process to follow its course and, if they have any grievances, that they channel those through legal and peaceful means.  We reiterate the call of the Secretary-General for maintaining calm and ensuring strict respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially in this time while people await, and understandably await eagerly, the official results. From the August 1 transcript: Inner City Press: in the run up to the elections in Kenya, the head of the electronic voting, Chris Msando, has been murdered and I wanted to know, what is the UN… various countries have expressed concern, offered to send investigators, has the resident coordinator or anyone in the UN system, what do they think of this murder?

Spokesman:  Obviously, I think it’s, the fact that a member of the electoral commission was murdered, in what appears to be such a gruesome way, is shocking and can only be condemned.  We hope that the perpetrators are found and brought to justice.  I think Kenya is entering a very, obviously a very delicate period with the upcoming elections, and we would not want to see any increase or violence or disturbance.

Inner City Press: Can you say what the UN's role, does it have any role?  I know that there was somebody who used to work at DPA [Department of Political Affairs] who is now working on the elections as a Kenyan national, but is there a UN role?

Spokesman:  I can check.  I'm not aware of any role, but I'm happy to check.

  Twenty three hours later, nothing. But UN Department of Public Information's Nairobi "UNIC" has responded online that the UN did speak out, attaching a statement referring to the "sudden demise" of Msango. He was tortured and murdered. That is NOT speaking out, and is consistent with UN Resident Coordinator Siddharth Chatterjee's strikingly pro-government blatherings in the country, of the kind the many say got the Resident Coordinator in Myanmar removed from the job - or "promoted," in UN-speak. Chatterjee was named Resident Correspondent by his father in law Ban, without recusal. On August 2, with Dujarric not having provided any answer on the UN's electoral role, Inner City Press asked him again, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: the UN statement, apparently the most recent one, still calls it a sudden demise and given that the autopsy has shown that he was both tortured and murdered and the EU has called for an investigation, is the UN wanting there to be an investigation?

Spokesman:  Of course, of course, there should be an investigation.  I think anyone who is found murdered deserves to have an investigation into the killings.  I think in this particular instance, given the political climate in Kenya and given the upcoming elections, it's obviously extremely important that, following what has clearly been the murder of a senior member of the electoral commission, that that be investigated and the perpetrators be brought to justice.

Inner City Press:  When they called it a sudden demise, they didn't yet know it was a murder?

Spokesman:  Listen, I think, you’re, as I said, the UNIC is obviously in contact with you.  You are free to call.

Inner City Press:  They tweeted.

Spokesman:  No, you know their numbers are public.  You can go and ask them directly.  You don't need me to be sandwiched between you and them.  And I did, I think you had asked about the UN's role, and… and UNDP is, through an electoral cycle, based 2015-2018 project called Supporting Electoral Processes in Kenya, supporting various Kenyan institutions to prepare for credible and peaceful general elections in August.  The project focuses on strengthening institutional and legal framework for the electoral process; increasing the participation of voters, parties and candidates in the electoral process with an emphasis of women, youth and people living with disabilities; promoting efficient and transparent and peaceful elections; and strengthening electoral justice.  The UN has also engaged the importance of peaceful and credible elections, both for the country and the region, by working consultation with regional organizations and the wider international community.

Back on February 17 as the UN discussed enforced disappearances with restricting the Press' ability to cover them, Inner City Press asked UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq why the UN's Resident Coordinator in Kenya Siddharth Chatterjee, Ban Ki-moon's son in law promoted by him without recusal, was silent on at least two cases. UN Transcript here and below.

   Siddharth Chatterjee has two days later reached out to seek an agreement, in advance, to publish whatever he chooses to send in. Inner City Press in turn requested, as it did in person in New York in September, an on camera interview which it would publish live and in its entirety.

  Along with the above, and what Chatterjee was doing recently in Addis Ababa lobbying in connection with the race for top African Union post, Inner City Press has conveyed in advance questions ranging from whether or not Chatterjee previously got an article about one of his promotions taken off the Internet after making an illegal offer of a job in his father in law's Secretariat to his role in the Jaffna Hospital Massacre and other specific war crimes in Sri Lanka. We hope to get answers to these questions and to publish them. Watch this site.

From the UN's February 17 transcript:

Inner City Press: it's the tenth anniversary of this Convention on enforced disappearances.  So, I'd asked you, I think, on Monday about this… these case of two South Sudanese who have disappeared in Kenya.  You said you're aware of the reports so, two things.  One, I'm wondering, who in the UN system is engaging with the Kenyan Government or the South Sudan Government about that?  Why hasn't the Resident Coordinator in Kenya? I mean the Nigeria one is speaking about when Boko Haram will be done.  Has anything been said by the UN in-country about these people that have been disappeared presumably by the Government and returned to South Sudan?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, first of all, I believe that there are Special Rapporteurs dealing with this particular situation.  There's… one of our human rights instruments deals with the question of disappearances.  And so they're looking into this matter, and we'll try to get information from them first and foremost.  And then other parts of the system can work on that as needed.

Inner City Press:  Sure.  And then can I, there's  a high-profile case in France of a 22-year-old person that was arrested on video and has said to have been raped or sodomized during the arrest.  His name is Theo.  And there have been riots in France for several days on it.  I've checked at least everything that's been sent out by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  I haven't seen anything.  Is the UN aware of this case?  And what do they think of… of both police treatment of people in France and of how the protests are being dealt with?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, regarding protests, of course, we want to make sure that the freedom of expression and the freedom of peaceful assembly are upheld.  Beyond that, this is a case that, ultimately, the judicial system would need to look into, and we'll have to see where they go with that.

  Back on January 25 with at least these two South Sudanese threatened with deportation by Kenya, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric for the UN's response. From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press: extradition questions, not South Korea extradition but are you aware of the impending extradition of South Sudanese human rights lawyer Samuel Luak, who defended Pagan Amum?  Basically, a number of highly respected groups are saying that, if he’s deported, he will face unjust treatment.  So I’m wondering, has the UN…

Spokesman Dujarric:  I, I have, don’t have an update here, but, again, you can check locally with the mission.

Inner City Press:  So that would be the resident coordinator?  I’m talking about in Kenya.

Spokesman:  In Kenya, you can check with the UN Information Centre in Nairobi.

  Dujarric was until December 31 the spokesman for Ban Ki-moon, who before he left the UN promoted his own son in law Siddharth Chatterjee to the top UN post in Kenya, as Resident Coordinator.

 In December as Kenya detained journalist Jerome Starkey, Ban Ki-moon's son in law Chatterjee was entirely silent. Like his father in law has proved to be with the Press in New York, he is at heart a censor. But it makes a mockery of Ban Ki-moon's post Sri Lanka claims of "Rights Up Front," even as Ban angles to run for President on South Korea.

 In fact, in Sri Lanka Ban's son in law is implicated in presumptive war crimes, the Jaffna Hospital massacre and the crushing of civilians with tanks. And it's from him that Ban took his advice on Sri Lanka, where Ban oversaw the killing of more than 40,000 civilians.

 Ban is allowing those scribes who ignore this and praise him to sell access to him on December 16 for $1200 on Wall Street. We'll have more on this.

Tellingly, as the UN's Resident Coordinator in Kenya, Ban's son in law Chatterjee has remained silent not only on the targeting of South Sudanese, but on the protests profiled in a study released by Article 19, here.

Ban's son in law ignores Ban's supposed “Rights Up Front,” given his action in Sri Lanka (see below) and because he is entirely unaccountable: he could only be fired by Ban Ki-moon, his father in law. Nepotism is harmful.

On December 3 Inner City Press reported the ever-increasingly likelihood that Ban Ki-moon's son in law Chatterjee was involved in crimes of war in Sri Lanka, which neither Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric nor Chatterjee himself when asked in the UN lobby was willing to answer.

   For some time Inner City Press has heard that Chatterjee, as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka, was a war criminal. Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Dujarric if Chatterjee was involved in the Jaffna University raid, or the Jaffna hospital massacre, without answer.

   In the UN lobby, Chatterjee said he would answer at an “opportune time.” He has not answered. Chatterjee had his commander, Dalvir Singh, write a defense on Huffington Post and elsewhere, identifying himself as the commander of Chatterjee and of the 10th Para commandos.

And that's the problem. More here and here.


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