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UNAIDS Whistleblowers Criticize Ben Wahab in Burundi, ICP Asked UN, 1st In Post-Loures Series

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Video II

UNITED NATIONS, March 23 -- Days after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres held an initially undisclosed meeting with Sudan's Omar al Bashir, indicted by the International Criminal Court, his UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Burundi bragged about supporting a government radio station - run by the wife of Pierre Nkurunziza. Now another UN agency, UNAIDS which has been embroiled in a sexual harassment, cover up and retaliation scandal, comes into view for its Burundi performance. Inner City Press on March 23 preemptively asked for a response but none was given. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: has the Secretary-General spoken with Mr. [Michel] Sidibé of UNAIDS [Joint United Nations Programme against HIV/AIDS], following the publication of his essentially threats to staff?

Spokesman:  I don't believe they were threats to staff, and I'm not aware of a phone call.

Inner City Press:  I ask this because there's a number of whistle-blowers within UNAIDS that are coming forward…"  We'll have more on this.
Whistleblowers in UNAIDS have reached out to Inner City Press with a full range of issues, beginning with: "the intimation tactics that mr Michel Sidibe used at our recent staff meeting where he praised Luiz Loures and also in a way threatened us that he is watching and knows those of us who are talking . A group of us want to speak the truth about UNAIDS and its leader Michel Sidibe who as the Executive Director has instilled a culture of abuse of authority by himself and his chosen few. We are happy to provide you a sample of examples of abuse of authority which includes nepotism as
Michel Sidibé has in the past 3-4 years hired as well as promoted to Directors many persons from Mali who many people in UNAIDS say are his direct or distance relations. Please feel free to expose and push to an investigation of UNAIDS to probe indeepthly on the the recruitment and promotion of the following persons and their relationships with Michel Sidibé.... Ben Wahab - A Malian recently appointed as UNAIDS Country Director for Burundi with no country level and no management experience. He came in as a P4 Adviser and very quickly in 3 years he rose to his present position of UNAIDS Country Director. He is Malian
." And here he is, full name Adboul Karim Ben Wahab. Nkurunziza's constitutional change referendum's date has been set, for 17 May 2018. It would break from the Arusha peace agreement - but what has Guterres or his part time envoy Michel Kafando had to say? On March 21, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you, in Burundi, now they've set the date for the constitutional referendum that some way would take… would swear off the Arusha peace agreement, of course, March… May 17th.  What I really wanted to ask you about, specifically, is, the person that refused to register, Simon Bizimana, was arrested for, quote, obstructing the electoral process for refusing to register to vote.  He was taken into police custody, and he has died in police custody.  And people say that he was essentially…

Spokesman:  I will check on that…

Inner City Press:  …beaten to death.

Spokesman:  I will check on this report…

Inner City Press: The reason I ask… I mean, I asked you before about the three groups that were… were sent… the three activists sentenced to ten years for setting up a human rights workshop, and you said you were looking into it.  I don't know who… who in the UN is actually tracking this?

Spokesman:  Well, you know, I think the various departments are tracking it.  I think the Secretary-General in… notably in his report, expressed his concern of the human rights situation, and I think that concern still stands today."
The UN Security Council and its Burundi penholder, aware of Nkurunziza's party declaring him "Supreme Eternal Guide" or visions, never followed through the deployed the 228 UN police they "mandated."
This comes as Nkuruziza goes after independent radio journalists like Jean Claude Nshimirimana of Radio Isanganiro, see below - and, ghoulishly, as Agence France Presse (AFP) claims that Guterres "takes aim at Burundi leader." Yeah - takes aim with financial support. Now Burundi has sentenced to 10 years in prison each three people for trying to organize a human rights workshop: Emmanuel Nshimirimana, Aime Constant Gatore and Marius Nizigiyimana, members of Parcem. So on March 13, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask about Burundi, since there is an envoy.  One, three human rights activists from the group PARCEM have been sentenced to ten years in jail for reportedly organizing a human rights workshop.  So, it seemed to many people to be a pretty extreme sentence, and I wonder if there's any comment on that.  And, two, the President, Pierre Nkurunziza, has been reportedly named the Eternal Supreme Guide of the CNDD-FDD party, which people see as part of a progression.  They now say he's just a visionary, but I guess I wanted to know,does the UN think what's happening in Burundi, given that you have an envoy, is it leaning more towards sort of one-person eternal visionary rule, or are things going in the way in which the envoy was supposed to be trying to work on it? Spokesman:  I would… listen, it's not for me to comment on party roles that leaders… titles that leaders may get.  I think the Secretary-General's position on Burundi and his concerns about Burundi are outlined in his latest report on Burundi, and they stand.  On the human rights access, I will check." We'll see.  On March 1, Inner City Press asked the new President of the UN Security Council, the Netherlands, why there was no read-out of the Council's consultations on Burundi earlier in the week, after previous Council president Kuwait told it France was working on a Press Statement. On March 2, this response in the Kingdom of the Netherlands' (or KNL's) national capacity:  "Council members are currently discussing a PRST on Burundi." So on March 7, Inner City Press asked French Ambassador Francois Delattre, What's up with the press statement on Burundi? Delattre turned to his two aides, then one aide and said, We are working with Quentin on it. With Quentin? Next, the French Mission omitted this Q&A from its transcript of the press encounter. A quick search of the Mission's website finds one Quentin Teissere - the third man in this video - working not only on Burundi and Rwanda but also DRC. But how can France be working with itself on a Security Council press statement on Burundi, eight days after the meeting? Perhaps France is holding too many pens, and should get a yellow card. In Burundi, on the pitch, Nkurunziza is having officials Cyriaque Nkezabahizi and Michel Mutama arrested after he was "roughed up" in a soccer or football match... This after an offer from FIFA of an honorary post didn't dislodge him. On February 26 after the UN Security Council met about Burundi, Inner City Press ran after Kafando and at the elevator asked him if Mkapa is quitting. No, he said, unless there is more recent news. In the chamber, Burundi's Ambassador Shingiro delivered a self staisfied speech. At the stakeout there was no media other than Inner City Press, which the UN evicted and still restricts. This is today's UN. On February 27, Inner City Press asked Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Mkapa, could you finally… I just wanted to ask you… Spokesman:  As far as I know, he did not resign.
Inner City Press: He did NOT brief.  So, do you… but that's…? Spokesman:  "That's… as far as I understand it, he had expressed the possibility that he would.  But, as far as I know, he did not.  Okay.  Thank you all." Yeah. 
On February 22, Inner City Press asked the UN's top two spokesmen Stephane Dujarric and Farhan Haq about reports that mediator Benjamin Mkapa is quitting. The two spokesmen not onlyl did not answer - they didn't even confirm receipt, or provided the promised data on UN sexual harassment. Inner City Press has asked, " On Burundi, it seems Benjamin Mkapa has quit. What is the UN's / UNSG's / Kafando's comment, and plan going forward? Also, maybe I missed it, but where are the sexual harassment statistics it seemed would be emailed out after today's briefing?" Meanwhile Burundi's Ambassador to the UN Albert Shingiro told Inner City Press on February 21 that he had spoken with 13 of the Security Council's 15 members, with the final two - he declined to name them - scheduled for the coming days. It's come to this, at the UN. What did the UN say, and what if anything did it  do, about the detention of
Aloys Habimana at the DR Congo - Burundi border? He was taken to a detention facility in Bujumbura and remains in custody of the Service National de Renseignements (SNR – National Intelligence Services). Inner City Press and others reported on the disappearance; we have now told he has been released. Throughout, UN Security Council member chat amiably with Burundi's Ambassador Shingiro, then pat themselves on the back with the UN Censorship Alliance. On February 16, as Inner City Press with the UN minders required for it but not pro-UN state media like Egypt's Akhbar al Youm and Voice of America stakeouts out the ECOSOC chamber, Burundi's Ambassador Shingiro passed by. Inner City Press asked and he said he was going to meet the Security Council President, Kuwait. He emerged 25 minutes later and gave Inner City Press a glowing report, that it had gone well. How could it? The UN of Guterres has given up - no written report in a year, despite the Council mandate. Later, Shingiro was seen with Sweden's Deputy Carl Skau. Kuwait praised VOA, and the UN Censorship Alliance, no mention of Burundi. Never again? UNFPA's director Kanem was on the February 8 schedule of Guterres' Deputy Amina J. Mohammed. So after evasive answers from UN spokespeople, Inner City Press went on February 12 to ask Mohammed. Unlike other no-show, no-question correspondents, Inner City Press had to get a minder from Alison Smale's Department of Public Information. Even then, at 5:08 pm the minder got a text that a blue rope should be put in front of Inner City Press. Where did that come from? Finally Mohammed came out of ECOSOC, with Nelson Muffah and a UN Security guard. Inner City Press asked if the Burundi radio issue came up in her meeting with the UNFPA. She said, or claimed, that there was no meeting. Video here. But it was on her public schedule. So on February 13, Inner City Press asked her and Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I tried yesterday to ask the Deputy Secretary-General as she came out of the ECOSOC [Economic and Social Council] meeting, and it was about this situation of UNFPA [United Nations Population Fund] still saying, I guess, there's nothing wrong with… with — it's World Radio Day — with giving its equipment to the… Pierre Nkurunziza's wife's radio station.  But, she seemed to say that there… she hadn't met… even met with Ms. [Natalia] Kanem of the UNFPA, when it was on her schedule [8 February], so I'm still… I'm wanting to get to the bottom of whether… many people in Burundi feel this was probably a mistake.  They, in fact, are now posting photographs of that… the UNFPA Burundi representative taking selfies with Denise Nkurunziza, very close with the Government.  So, they're wondering, like, how does this get resolved up the chain?  Maybe you can't take the equipment back, but I'd… one, I'd like… I'd most like to know whether the Deputy Secretary-General raised it with UNFPA in her new position as kind of the head of the development system, but also, it does seem important to know whether a meeting that was on the schedule took place or not.  She said there was no meeting, and I was unable, given how I was restricted, to pursue it and find out…? Spokesman:  Let me find out if the meeting took place, and I think Farhan [Haq] addressed the issue with you two days ago, and if we have anything more from UNFPA, we will… Inner City Press: He sent a statement saying that they work with a lot of radio stations, which nobody disputes, but why would you work with a leader that you're criticizing in reports…? Spokesman:  Right.  I will see if there's anything else.  Okay.  Thank you.  I'll leave you with Brenden." A day later, nothing from Spokesman Dujarric. So on February 14, Inner City Press asked his Deputy Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: speaking of limited political space, in Burundi, there's… the Government has used the national radio to say that those campaigning against the upcoming constitutional referendum that would allow [President] Pierre Nkurunziza to remain in power into the 2030s are subject to arrest.  And some students have even been arrested in schools for campaigning against the referendum while the Government campaigns for it.  There's Mr. [Michel] Kafando, others, what do they think of that closing of political space?  And was you or Stéphane [Dujarric] able to get an answer from the Deputy Secretary-General whether she met with the UNFPA on… on 8 February and whether the issue of funding Pierre Nkurunziza's wife's radio station was addressed? Deputy Spokesman:  Regarding the issue of funding of the radio station, I have given you the response from the UN Population Fund, and so that's what they have had to say about all of their various projects involving radio in Africa.  Regarding the situation in Burundi, we are concerned about any efforts to close political space, and we continue to call for an inclusive and participatory process.  And we would be concerned about any restrictions on the freedom of expression and the freedom of peaceful assembly. Inner City Press: it seems like this is the type of radio station that they worked with.  So, I'm just wondering, it seems like… was this addressed or just did the meeting take place between the Deputy Secretary-General and UNFPA? Deputy Spokesman:  I believe, as UNFPA made clear, they were working with a number of radio stations, as they do in a number of countries in terms of providing aid for radio broadcasts throughout the region." We'll have more on this. On February 9, Inner City Press again asked UNSG Antonio Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Burundi and why UNFPA [United Nations Population Fund] and the UN system are supporting the President's wife's radio station, but it didn't… as I'm sure you saw if you passed it along, it just said that we like to work with radio stations.  It didn't address the free speech issues raised by actually assisting not just a Government radio station, but a station that's run by the head of the… the wife of the head of the country at a time only, today, since you sent me this, Reporters sans Frontières has come out and said that the Government is threatening to imprison radio journalist Bigirimana for reporting on forced contributions by youth gangs.  So, I didn't… I mean… I want… maybe you can do it.  Maybe I guess they cooked this one up, but what is the UN's… how can it claim, as it does, that it supports freedom of the press when the assistance to radio it's giving in Burundi is to a Government radio station run by an enemy of the free press described by press freedom groups? Deputy Spokesman:  The language that the UN Population Fund gave you is that they support a number of radio stations, not simply one, and beyond that you should probably contact our colleagues in UNFPA.  I've given you the information that they have provided. Inner City Press: Did this issue come up with the Deputy Secretary-General yesterday? Deputy Spokesman:  Like I said, we don't have the details of internal meetings with the heads of agencies.  Obviously, they talked about common issues of concern between the UN Secretariat and UNFPA." In fact, Guterres allowed Nkurunziza to deny visas to UN staff and remained quiet, like his part-time envoy Michel Kafando, paid to remain in Burkina Faso, as pro-government as Guterres' Francois Lounseny Fall on Cameroon, from whom Guterres accepted a golden statue, UN "Gift Registry Number" not disclosed. At the UN noon briefing on February 7 Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman, video here, UN transcript here and below.  Now, after UNFPA without addressing its aid to Denise Nkurunziza's radio station said it supports free press including in Burundi, this from RSF: "Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the authorities in Ruyigi province, in eastern Burundi, to allow local radio journalist Jean-Claude Nshimirimana to continue working after the governor threatened to have him jailed for 12 months on a charge of disturbing public order if he ever reported anything about the province again. Nshimirimana, who works for privately-owned Radio Isanganiro, was summoned and threatened by the governor yesterday, one day after the radio station carried a report by him about discontent among school principals and teachers in Ruyigi at being asked to pay an additional “voluntary” tax to help fund general elections in Burundi in 2020... Nshimirimana said the governor and the head of the provincial branch of the National Intelligence Service (SNR) had also asked him to give them the names of the teachers opposed to paying the additional tax. When contacted by other journalists, the governor accused Nshimirimana of lying about what the authorities said and of “aiming to destabilize the country” in his reporting. Burundi is ranked 160th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2017 World Press Freedom Index." We'll have more on this. Having gotten no answer, and seeing that UNFPA's chief would meet at 2:45 pm with UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed (who also has yet to answer Press questions including on the UN's lack of content neutral media accreditation and access rules, rosewood, Nigeria and Cameroon), Inner City Press asked again on February 8. Afterward, this "response" which doesn't mention Nkurunziza or his wife or their crack downs, was emailed to Inner City Press: "Here is the reply frm UNFPA: UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, respects the rights and freedoms of all, including the media. UNFPA also promotes reproductive rights to end maternal deaths, unintended pregnancies, as well as violence and harmful practices and women and girls.  The UNFPA Burundi office upholds these reproductive rights in partnership with stakeholders, such as civil society, media, youth and religious leaders to serve Burundi’s people, including those living in remote areas, to ensure no one is left behind. With 90 per cent of the population in rural areas, UNFPA by necessity works with several media outlets, including about 10 radio stations, to relay programmes on maternal health, fistula, gender-based violence and family planning to hard-to-reach people, vulnerable populations and youth. Radio remains a vital means of reaching people and helping ensure that no one is left behind in UNFPA’s work to help Burundi’s people end maternal deaths and reduce poverty." So why did UNFPA give equipment, of all places, to Nkurunziza's wife's radio station? This is a new low. From the UN's February 7 transcript: Inner City Press: it seems that the UN Population Fund, UNFPA, in Burundi has both funded or given equipment worth some 50,000 euros to a Government radio station, sponsored and initiated by [President] Pierre Nkurunziza's wife, Denise.  So, some people are saying it seems strange that, amid reports that the Secretary-General is concerned about Pierre Nkurunziza trying to remain in power and the fundraising for refugees and… and deep concern about the country, that the UN system would be, in fact, giving money to a Government radio station.  Is… is it… is that the Secretary-General's position of what the UN system should be doing? Spokesman:  Well, this is not about the Secretary-General but about projects done by the UN Population Fund.  I believe the UN Population Fund does a number of projects throughout Africa in terms of support for radio programmes to put out and disseminate their messages.  This may be in line with that, but we're checking with them to see whether this is in line with other such efforts… Inner City Press: They seem to say that they've actually given all of the equipment for the radio station to function, and it comes at a time where the Government of Burundi is, in fact… has locked up some radio journalists, burned down some radio stations in the past, and is currently telling a station not to report on… on attempts by the youth militia to… to make people pay them money in a region of the country.  So, I guess I'm just asking you more pointedly, should the UN system, if they're concerned about freedom of radio press in a country, be giving equipment to a Government station? Spox:  Well, that's a question to address to UNFPA, but the UN system, including the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights, has raised concerns about the fair treatment of media in Burundi and will continue to do that." Nothing more was answered; Guterres' deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed meets the head of UNFPA at 2:45 pm on February 8, after Mohammed did not answer any of Inner City Press' emails or questions. Watch this site. In other news, 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 now reversed electoral win by Uhuru Kenyatta. Video here. On February 6, Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, video here, UN transcript here: and below. On February 7, after Miguna was forcibly ejected, Inner City Press again asked the UN, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: heard your statement that the UN believes the Government or all sides should comply with the law.  This person, Miguna Miguna, that I'd asked you about yesterday who had been, at that time, arrested, he's since been flown out of the country against his will on KLM, purportedly deported, but he's actually a Kenyan citizen that ran for office and was fully vetted.  So, I'm wondering, seems like… does this… is this something that's caught the notice of the UN system, that a major… the main lawyer for the opposition party that ran for Government has been flown out of the country against his will? Spokesman:  "Yeah.  It has caught our notice.  I don't have anything to add to what I said yesterday about this, but, yes, we're aware of that." And? From the UN's February 6 transcript: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you again about Kenya.  It seems like Citizen TV is still closed.  A gentleman I'd asked you about before, an opposition figure, David Ndii, has had his passport cancelled for attending the inauguration or self-inauguration of Raila Odinga, and an opposition lawyer, Miguna Miguna, has been arrested.  I know that, in an earlier stage, Mr. [Olusegun] Obasanjo was sent.  Is the UN actually trying to defuse what seems to be a mounting tension between the two sides in Kenya? Deputy Spokesman:  Well, we are concerned about any of these reports.  We want, once more, for all of the Kenyans to maintain a lawful and peaceful social and political environment.  And, in recognition of the critical role of security agencies in preventing violence and maintaining law and order, the United Nations urges law enforcement officials to continue to observe the law and respond proportionally in dealing with protests. Inner City Press: Right.  Well, what about, like, locking up these opposition people?  It seems… some people are saying they might lock up Raila Odinga, which would create a huge outcry.  So, I'm just wondering, is there an attempt by the UN to sort of…? Deputy Spokesman:  We are in touch with different officials to relay our various concerns about the situation." If it's true that someone in today's UN is relaying these concerns - it doesn't seem to be the UN's resident coordinator Siddharth Chatterjee, full of praise of the government and himself - it's not being heard. Miguna Miguna was forced onto a KLM flight from Nairobi to Amsterdam, purportedly "deported" to Canada in violation of Kenyan law. Inner City Press asks, Might KLM pilots and flight crews react as some on Luftansa have, to the placement of non-consensual passengers on their flights? What seems clear is that today's UN can't be counted on: its approach to planes has British "Global Communicator" Alison Smale flying down to South Carolina to praise a flightless Chinese plane for merely painting on the side the letters "SDGs," then refusing to provide the publicly-funded video of the photo op, see here. We'll have more on this. Back on January 30, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the cutting off of TV and radio from covering Raila Odinga counter inauguration, and about the reported arrest of relatives of blogger Cyprian Nyakundi. After some canned language on the former, Dujarric told Inner City Press to ask the UN Country Team about Nyakundi. But, Inner City Press pointed out, UN Resident Coordinator Siddharth Chatterjee blocks Nyakundi on Twitter, just as he blocks Inner City Press. The UN's commitment to free media and criticism is nil. On January 31, Inner City Press asked more, video here, UN transcript here and below. On February 5, Inner City Press asked Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: in Kenya, there was a court order saying to reopen the TV stations that were closed down during Raila Odinga's self-inauguration.  And not all… two have opened, but Citizen TV has not opened.  People have been tear gassed as they protest for opening it.  And I'm wondering, what does the UN think about this, the Government not only closing a TV station but not obeying a court order to reopen it? Spokesman:  Look, I think it's important that there be a climate in which journalists can operate freely.  I think, as we said earlier, it's important that all Kenyan political actors work together to uphold the Constitution and work together to strengthen governance and uphold human rights and the rule of law." Yeah - where's Sid, the head of the UN in Kenya, other than promoting himself? From the UN's January 30 transcript:Inner City Press: on Kenya.  Yesterday, you'd said, you know, sort of generally that the UN is concerned about… the TV stations are still closed there.  The blogger I named has actually since been arrested.  There's been grenade attacks on an MP [military policeman], and another one has been arrested.  So, I know that you expressed concern.  What exactly is the UN… I mean, I know that Mr. [Olusegun] Obasanjo was sent and then left.  Is the UN doing anything about this? Spokesman:  "You know, I think contacts continue to be had, and we would want to see an atmosphere in which media is able to operate freely." Really? When Sid blocks the blogger (reportedly since released but facing charges) and Inner City Press, and the UN continues to restrict Inner City Press? On January 26, after the UN answered Inner City Press that Secretary General Antonio Guterres sent former Nigerian President Obasanjo to Kenya (and this was picked up, crediting Inner City Press, in an article in which both Jubilee and NASA denied any contact with Obasanjo), Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, UN video, transcript here: Inner City Press: I also wanted to ask you about Mediator [Olusegun] Obasanjo's trip to Kenya.  There's now reports in the press there, basically, with both the Government or the Jubilee Party and NASA (National Super Alliance) denying that they had any meeting with him, so I wanted to know did he really… did he go?  And who did he meet with?  Also is there any comment on the NASA Coalition announcing what they call "the authentic results of the August election" saying that Raila Odinga won? Deputy Spokesman:  Well, regarding that, it was in the context of the decisions by the National Super Alliance that the Secretary-General asked former President Obasanjo to visit Kenya.  It's important that Kenyans continue to uphold the 2010 Constitution, and that the opposition carry their political activities within the confines of the law.  We would like to stress the importance for Kenyans to work together to strengthen governance, advance inclusive development, and uphold human rights and the rule of law. Deputy Spokesman:  But did he meet with any representative of the NASA Coalition while he was there? Inner City Press: I believe he reached out with a range of interlocutors as part of his work, and he'll continue to keep with his various contacts." Interlocutors but NOT Jubilee or NASA? Who is paying for this? How much? Back on January 22, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I actually want to ask you about one of the things you did comment on on Friday, and it was Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Kenya, being named as a Global Champion of Youth by UNICEF [United Nations Children’s Fund].  It's given raise rise to a lot of controversy in the country, given the unrest around the most recent election including the killing of youth by the Government.  And I've come to understand that, at least after… I believe after the briefing that we had on Friday, you… you said that… that there is no appointment or you understood there to be no appointment.  Is there an appointment or not of this controversial appointment of Uhuru Kenyatta as a Global Champion of Youth Empowerment by the UN system? Spokesman:  I think that's a question for UNICEF.  My understanding is that the Executive Director spoke about the need for youth to be engaged, and the President said he would support that.  But, beyond that, I'm not aware of any specific appointment. Inner City Press: Okay.  And I also wanted to ask, because you confirmed on Friday that Mr. [Olusegun] Obasanjo was going there in some capacity, and it's also reported that he's going to the inauguration of George Weah in Liberia.  How lengthy was the trip to Kenya? Spokesman:  No, I think it was just a couple days.  I'm not… as far as his presence in Liberia, I'm not aware that's UN business." But it's unclear, apparently by designed. On January 24, Inner City Press asked Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: You may have seen that Mr. [Olusegun] Obasanjo, who I know is at least a part-time mediator for the Secretary-General, has issued an open letter calling on President [Muhammadu] Buhari not to run for re-election and to retire.  And I just… I'm assuming that's not as a UN official, but what I want to know is… Spokesman:  That would be a correct assumption. Inner City Press:  But my question is, in cases going forward, given that he was sent to Kenya, but it wasn't announced from here and he… people sort of intuited from there, is it a better practice to say when he's going on a UN mission or not say…? Spokesman:  You know, I think, obviously, to state again, those reports have nothing to do with the UN.  He's not a part-time mediator.  He's, like all the other members of the committee, of the group, he is… they are as-needed mediators.  So, they get called on per case.  You know, obviously, we would like to be as transparent as possible, and there may be a number of other missions that we would like to advance… announce in advance.  Sometimes, it's best to try to do things discreetly so as not to raise pressure or expectations, but… and, while we may want to do that, others may announce things for us.  So, it's on a case-by-case basis. Inner City Press:  And… and thanks.  And you mentioned the private sector, and I wanted to know… I think it was nine days ago, the Secretary-General said he would look into whether China Energy Fund Committee… Spokesman:  Yes, I’m in contact with the Global Compact.  If I have something, I will share it with you.  Thank you, all." Back on January 19, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you if Mr. Obasanjo is headed to Kenya.  There's this stand-off between Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta, and it said that…  that I guess…  I don't know if he's… Spokesman:  It's true.  The short answer is it's true.  As you know, the political situation in Kenya is one we've been following closely, especially the ongoing preparation by the opposition, the National Super Alliance, for the swearing-in planned of in January.  It's in that context that the Secretary-General asked the former president Obasanjo who, as you know, is a member of the Secretary-General's High-Level Mediation Panel, to visit Kenya.  It's important that Kenyans continue to uphold the 2010 Constitution, and that the opposition carry their political activities within the confines of the law, and we would like to stress the importance for Kenyans to work together to strengthen governance, advance inclusive development, and uphold human rights and the rule of law. Inner City Press:  And I wanted to ask.  There's some controversy there about…  remember Roselyn Akombe, there was the whole situation where she… as a… as a UN staff member on leave, she called for a boycott of the elections.  It said that she's actually received a promotion, I guess, over the possible opposition of the Kenyan Permanent Representative.  Is it true that she's now the Director of Policy and Planning of DPA [Department of Political Affairs]?  And UNICEF has made Uhuru Kenyatta, despite this controversy, a Global Champion for Youth.  Are these in…  in any way related? Spokesman:  No, not at all.  Ms. Akombe I think has a new job.  And as all staff, they go through a process to get that job." We'll have more on this. The UN's resident coordinator Siddharth Chatterjee, Ban Ki-moon's son in law, is of course silent, other than self-promotion including knee-jerk defense of Amina J. Mohammed for not answering Press questions about her 4000 rosewood signatures, for which 98,000 people have asked Ban's successor Antonio Guterres to investigate. There's still no investigation - nor any comment on the abduction of nine Cameroon opposition officials in Nigeria while Amina J. Mohammed is there. On January 11, Inner City Press asked Guterres' and Mohammed's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: the EU is an election observer in Kenya, and yesterday, they released a report pretty much damning of the process.  And I guess, what I wanted to ask you about is they were supposed to launch it in Nairobi.  They were basically told you can't come.  The Government there has… has rejected the… the observers' finding.  Some people think that they should have said it earlier but… I guess what I'm wondering is, since the UN is there with a big presence, if they won't comment on the elections themsel… I mean in Nairobi… if they have no view of the fairness of the elections as they were ultimately held, do they think that their host country of UNON should be open to… to the actual election observers that there were coming and releasing their report in a normal way, or do you think…? Spokesman:  "I don't have the details… I don't know the details of what was accepted or what was refused, but you can check with our colleagues in… in Nairobi.  And, as you know, we were not observers in these elections.  Your next question, sir." There will be more. On December 4, when Inner City Press began asking Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Kenyatta's arrest of David Ndii, Dujarric not only didn't answer - he ran off the podium and out of the UN Press Briefing Room, video here, the same Room he evicted Inner City Press and still restricts it for pursuing the UN corruption pattern in the room. So on December 5, Inner City Press to make sure it got a UN answer devoted its first noon briefing question to this - but UN Headquarters says it knows nothing and refers the Press to the Country Team run by Ban Ki-moon's pro-Kenyatta son in law Sid Chatterjee. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: on Kenya I wanted to ask, a critic of President Kenyatta David Ndii, he was arrested and have been arrested and charged with incitement to violence for organising an upcoming event, 12 December by Raila Odinga and his NASA (National Super Alliance) coalition which continues to, you know, they boycotted the election, so my question is:  Does the UN, which is obviously has a pretty big presence in Kenya and had things to say about the election, what does it think of the arrest…? Spokesman:  I'm not familiar with that particular case.  You may want to reach out to the right colleagues, Nasser Ega Musa and the UN country team.  Your second question?" The UN transcript omitted or censored Inner City Press audibly asking, "Sid?" We'll continue to follow this: the UN is failing. Back 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? 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 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).


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