Tuesday, August 2, 2016
In DR Congo, Katumbi Said Falsely Convicted, Turned Away, UN Has No Comment
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, August 1 -- Despite the UN's spending in the DR Congo, it so wants to stay that it has little to say. On August 1, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN trnascript here:
Inner City Press: There was one very large demonstration in favour of Mr. [Etienne] Tshisekedi but Mr. [Moise] Katumbi, the also candidate or for… desiring to be candidate was banned from returning to the country by the DRC authorities, the judge had convicted him, has said that she was forced to do so and gone into hiding. Given the UN peacekeeping mission there and its role, do they have any thoughts or comments on the banning of a candidate and the Judge recanting the conviction?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, I think we made our concerns known about the case of Mr. Katumbi earlier and those remain the same as when we had pointed this out. Regarding the demonstrations, the information we have from the mission is that the situation is calm in Kinshasa and they are aware that the recent demonstrations in the country took place in a relatively peaceful atmosphere.
ICP Question: What about the banning of him returning? He was going to fly back over the weekend, on Sunday, and the Government said, turn the plane around basically. Any comment on that?
Deputy Spokesman: No. I mean, like I said, we have mentioned our concerns about this and they remain.
Inner City Press on May 5 and May 6 asked the lead spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about threats against opposition candidates Moise Katumbi. The spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said the UN Peacekeeping mission controlled by USG Herve Ladsous has no mandate to protect candidates. Vine here.
On May 27, after protesters were shot in Goma, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, video here, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: This is about the Democratic Republic of the Congo. You put out a statement… in the protest yesterday, at least in Goma, the authorities used live fire and teargas. A protester was killed. Many were injured. I’m wondering if you could just describe rather than just a reaction to it, what did MONUSCO [UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo] do during… pursuant to its protection of civilians mandate during the protest?
Deputy Spokesman: Okay. Well, yesterday the Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO, reported the demonstrations took place in a number of cities with reports related to a tense situation in certain neighbourhoods of Goma, North Kivu. In line with its mandate, MONUSCO did mobilize to assist. In Kinshasa, for example, UN police units have worked closely with the Police Nationale Congolaise to advise and support them. MINUSCA will continue to closely monitor the situation across the country. [Minusca?]
As you’re aware, the Secretary-General issued a statement on this and has stressed the need for all to act in strict respect of the fundamental freedoms and rights enshrined in the Constitution, and he made clear that all parties must exercise restraint and express their views peacefully and that political actors must engage in a constructive and peaceful political dialogue.
On May 16, after people peacefully protesting against the UN's failure to protect civilians in Goma were arrested, Inner City Press asked UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq.