Monday, April 24, 2017

On Burundi and ICP's Scoop of Kafando as UN Envoy, Spox Won't Comment Job is P/T, UNSC Not Told

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series

UNITED NATIONS, April 24 -- On Burundi, France which as UN Security Council penholder has accomplished little on the issue has a new proposal, sources exclusively toldInner 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 askeUN 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 dwindlingcommitment 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 transcriptInner 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.  Then consider UNICEF, whose logo and shirt is portrayed here on the governor of Makamba province Gad Niyukuri who last week reportedly called on residents to "eliminate" rebels so fuel "won't be wasted by having them transferred to the police." It's a joint shirt with Burundian flag and UNICEF logo. Did UNICEF give it to the governor? Is it an authorized use? If not, what will UNICEF - recently outed for abandoning the victims of peacekeepers' abuse in the Central African Republic, and yet to respond on that - do? Watch this site.
On April 18 another part of the UN system describes some of the events that Inner City Press asked and sought to ask for Guterres' position and action on: " On 1 April this year in the northern province of Kayanza, around 2,500 Imbonerakure reportedly marched from Kayanza football stadium along the main road chanting similar slogans, inciting rape and violence against opponents. Reports suggest that senior officials were present at this rally. Reports also suggest that similar chanting occurs regularly at weekly Imbonerakure meetings in the southern province of Makamba. On 3 April, during a meeting on security, the Governor of Makamba reportedly urged the local population to maintain security, to arrest any suspicious person, to check every bag and suitcase and to 'eliminate immediately' every person presumed to be a rebel. On 7 April, the President of the Senate is alleged to have incited people to violence in Makamba, reportedly calling for all suspected rebels to be 'silently collected.' This is the latest of many such speeches where the President of the Senate has reportedly used coded language, with its roots in the mass violence from Burundi’s past, to incite followers to violence." So what about Guterres' lead spokesman refusing to answer the Press on Burundi? What about the UN's Department of Public Information still requiring Inner City Press to have a minder even to cover its Rwanda genocide commemoration, then requiring Inner City Press to leave mid-way through? What about the continuing failure of all parts of the UN system - including in Geneva Prince Zeid and his spokesman Rupert Colville - on the abuses in Cameroon including the now 91 day Internet cut? On Burundi, is it any surprise that the East African Community's Secretariat, appointed by Burundi's Pierre Nkurunziza, mocks UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' report on Burundi? And that there is no response from the UN? This is how low the UN has sunk. Dujarric is still spokesman after this, and after playing his role in evicting and still restricting the Press, which has been raised. After in Burundi a hate-video of the ruling party's militia calling for the impregnation or rape of opposition women was widely seen, when Inner City Press asked the UN about it on April 5 the UN said it had not been aware, ironically thanked Inner City Press - which it has evicted and still restricts - and said something would be done. What? From the UN transcript: 
  Inner City Press: on Burundi, but there's a… a… a video has emerged of the ruling party militia talking about impregnating all the women of all people that don't agree with the militia's platform for pro… for Pierre Nkurunziza.  So, given things that the UN has said in the past, what's the response to this?  And what is the UN doing currently in the last, you know, two weeks or so on the situation in Burundi?

Associate Spokesperson:  Thank you for bringing this to our attention.  We weren't aware of this video.  And, if true, that's very highly troubling.  And we have, as you know, a team on the ground that I'm sure is looking into this, and hopefully, will take some action.
  What action? When the UK held the wrap-up session for its month as President of the UN Security Council on March 31, at first no one on its team volunteered to speak on Burundi.  Then the month's weak Council Press Statement was cited, with no mention that of the non-deployment of the 226 Police the Council ostensibly mandated in a resolution. Also on March 31, Inner City Press asked Tanzania's Foreign Minister Augustine Mahiga about the Arusha talks. His response is on video, here. Off camera, he told Inner City Press should be allowed to chose which country's or countries' police it would like deployed. 
  When the Burundi configuration of the UN Peacekeeping Commission last met, UN Human Rights testified that the country's SNR tortures people based on ethnicity, by making them walk on glass and pouring gasoline into their wounds. Then Burundi's Ambassador Albert Shingiro, who recent placed the UN or at least Ban Ki-moon into the "Axis of Evil," took the floor and denied it all. Periscope video here. The Special Adviser he and Pierre Nkurunziza are seeking to have removed was not on the podium. (We noted that Burundi has Persona Non Grata-ed or recused his predecessors, Abdullah Battily, Carolyn McAskie, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Youssef Mahmoud, Said Djinnit.)  The chair, Ambassador Jurg Lauber of Switzerland, is set to visit Burundi from March 27 to March 31, while others in the UN system are banned or delayed. 
  Also speaking was France, but not through its top Ambassador Francois Delattre or even his deputy Alexis Lamek. It called the mind France's approach in Cameroon, where its ambassador Thibault last week congratulatedPaul Biya for a non-existent dialogue with the Anglophone areas. Why isn't at least UN Peacekeeping working on these areas, where the Internet has been cut off by the government for 56 days and counting? Watch this site.
  On March 13, when the UN again refused to answer about Cameroon, Inner City Press asked about its Special Adviser on Conflict Prevention and Burundi, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: just this morning, the ambassador of Burundi said again that… that they reject and… and… and completely the Special Adviser… seems to be a big standoff between the Government and the Secretariat.  What's the status of the letters the President sent, that Mr. [Albert] Shingiro sent, and the Secretary-General, is he trying to speak to the Government to get them to… to… to allow people in or where's it stand?

Spokesman:  There's no update to what the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council not too long ago.
   Burundi now wants to change all of the UN staff in the country. Meanwhile, the UN's dysfunction on Burundi has reached the point where its spokesman can refuses to answer three Press questions in a row about the country, then run off the podium, saying "I'm lazy." Video here. 
 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 called 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.
Inner City Press on February 17 asked, video here, UN transcript here.
Inner City Press on February 16 asked, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: the Government itself has said it's not going to participate.  So I wanted to know if you have any kind of update to what you said yesterday.  And, also, a Burundian minister has visited refugees in Uganda.  This has given rise to protests, because there's a sense that… that, by visiting people that fled the country in fear of their lives, there's essentially a threat to them to be repatriated or refouled back to Burundi.  I wanted to know if the UN has a view on that.   And, finally, I'd asked some weeks ago about a guy called Budigi, a Burundian military figure that was involved in the burning down of Radio Publique Africaine.  And it's, again, reported by Radio Publique Africaine that this Nicolas Budigi is part of UN CAR, the UN Mission in Central African Republic.   And so Stéphane had said he'd look into it.  I wanted to know, have you found out that this… whether or not… can you confirm that the guy is there?  And, if not, what does it say about the vetting that's being conducted by DPKO (Department of Peacekeeping Operations)?

Deputy Spokesman:  Yes, our peacekeeping colleagues have been looking into this matter.  I think they're trying to gather details on this now.  Once we have that, we'll let you know.  Regarding the participation by the parties in the Arusha talks, we do regret the decision by any invited participant to decline attendance of the consultations to be held in Arusha under the auspices of the East African Community (EAC) and facilitated by former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa.  We urge the parties to demonstrate the necessary flexibility to make a negotiated solution possible, and the UN will continue to support the process led by the EAC.
  On February 14, after Inner City Press asked a second time (and about the constitution, here), the UN sent Inner City Press this response, which we publish in full: "Special Adviser Benomar is in Arusha at the invitation of the Facilitator, former President Benjamin Mkapa, to support his efforts. The Facilitator has invited both the government and opposition and offered assurances to those members of the opposition who are on a Burundian Government arrest warrant list that they will not face arrest or extradition while in Tanzania."
 Inner City Press first asked the UN's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq on February 13 how the UN can support this. With the answer UNclear, and just before Haq called Inner City Press an obsessive a*hole, Inner City Press asked him, from the UN transcript: 
Inner City Press:  The other thing I wanted to ask about was on the Burundi talks is, you'd said yesterday that the UN is doing everything possible to make sure they're inclusive and that there shouldn't be preconditions.  And I wanted to get your response now.  The ruling party, CNDD-FDD, has said, quote, we are not going to sit with people who are under arrest warrants.  So this means that the peop… that… that exactly what you were saying yesterday you're opposed to will take place in these talks.  And I wanted to know, will Mr. [Jamal] Benomar nonetheless attend?  Will there still be UN funds to support a process in which large parts of the opposition are not allowed to participate?

Deputy Spokesman:  We'll check with Mr. Benomar what his intentions are on that.
From the February 14 UN's transcript:
Inner City Press: In Burundi, the talks that are re-beginning, there's a list out of the participants, but it says at the bottom of the lists that the… the opposition's attendance is contingent on discussions with Pierre Nkurunziza to grant conditional immunity.  Since the UN is supporting this process, is it really a process if one side gets to choose who from the other side can attend?  What is the role of the UN in ensuring inclusivity of the talks?

Deputy Spokesman:  We have stressed and will continue to stress the need for all talks to be inclusive.  And we want, therefore, all people to be able to participate in a manner that is not conditional.

Inner City Press:  But, what is… I mean, conditioned on immunity.  This is a letter… this is a document from Mr. [Benjamin] Mkapa, and he seems to be accepting that Pierre Nkurunziza can choose who can attend.

Deputy Spokesman:  We're in touch with the parties, and we're doing what we can to ensure that talks will be as inclusive as possible.
  So what is the UN doing?
  On top of Mkapa's attempt to up his pay to $1500 a day, and inclusion in his team of a person named in a previous UN sanctions report for DR Congo, there are more and more questions about this facilitation. But the UN, which "supports" it, won't even disclose the delay and blocking of its visas. 
  Herve Ladsous, the fourth French national in a row to run UN Peacekeeping, overrode recommendations and continues to pay the Nkurunziza government for Burundian peacekeepers accused of 25 rapes in the Central African Republic. This is calling out for action and cuts, and a re-thinking of how and by whom UN Peacekeeping should be run. Watch this site.
While the UN claims, even now, that it vets the peacekeepers it deploys before it deploys them, it has already had to repatriate a number, from Burundi. On January 24 Inner City Press asked about another, but the UN in its transcript didn't even take down the name. Video here,UN transcript here and below.
   At the confirmation hearing for Nikki Haley, nominee as US Ambassador to the UN, on January 18 Haley three times said that countries whose peacekeepers abuse should not keep getting paid.
  Inner City Press asked the UN and UK about this, with the example of the UN having chosen to keep paying Burundi for 800 troops even after the UN's own inquiry charged 25 rapes by Burundian soldiers in the Central African Republic.
  UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft signaled agreement, that sexual abuse by peacekeepers should be met by repatriation. Tweeted video here. But simply to be replaced by troops from the same country, to get paid? 
(During Rycroft's answer, there was a smirk at the mention of Burundi, from US state media that's had John Kerry on its Board - perhaps aflashback to Liberians, here. We may have more on this.)
 UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq called it a "case by case" decision, tweeted video here. But who decided it, and why?
As Burundi "facilitator" William Mkapa reconvened talks, the attendees list obtained by Inner City Press shows not only Ken Vitisia, of whom we're previously written, but also Francis Mnodolwa.
   Inner City Press previously on December 29 asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric to comment on the inclusion of an individual listed in the November 2009 DR Congo sanctions Group of Experts report, without answer. (Dujarric answered only two and a half of the 22 questions Inner City Press submitted: and those only to defend Ban Ki-moon and himself.)
  Now, from Paragraph 74 of that report:
"The Group has been informed by several sources, including a source close to Mr. Ndagundi, that he has close links to the ruling Counseil national pour la défense de la démocratie-forces pour la défense de la démocratie (CNDD-FDD) party in
Burundi.. Mr. Ndagundi.s Burundian telephone records also show 27 communications from April to September 2009 between himself and the number used by Francis Ndoluwa, the ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania to Burundi, a former general in the Tanzanian military. A source close to Mr. Ndagundi informed the Group that he works closely with the Ambassador."
  So there is yet another of Mkapa's team that is close to the CNDD-FDD. 
On January 16, Inner City Press asked the UN's deputy spokesman Farhaq Haq, video here, UN Transcript here.
  On January 11, long after the UN Security Council ostensibly mandated the deployment to Burundi of 228 UN Police, no progress had been made. Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: Has there been any progress in deploying the 226 police that the Security Council also mandated for Burundi to Burundi?  Do you have any update on that?

Spokesman:  No.  None that I can report.  Go ahead.  Last one.
   While corpses are found in Burundi and the government blocks the deployment of both the UN Police and UN Conflict Prevention staff ostensibly called for by the UN Secretariat and Security Council, the government's supporters try to side with either UN censors like Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach, who evicted and restricts the Press which reports on Burundi, or more generally UN staff. 
It is more than a little ironic. UN staff are being PNG-ed and having visas denied from Burundi.
   While the UN says little and does nothing about this, they made a point of ordering Inner City Press to stop broadcasting on Periscope, with voice-over, a Town Hall meeting with new Secretary General Antonio Guterres, which was on the UN's public UN Webcast website. And the government supporters, saying Inner City Press entered the meeting (it didn't) and picking up on the anti-Press maze Cristina Gallach of Spain and DPI has created, piled on. The UN of Gallach has brought this on; this is how the UN is perceived and to this has it sunk.
   There is also a strange announcement of a 500 Euros loan being arranged from a shadowy, seemingly dormant company “Biz Planners.” We'll have more on this.
 Benjamin Mkapa as Burundi mediator has kept his mind on his money, and his money on his mind, even as amid assissination of minister, closing down of NGOs. Well placed sources exclusively teold Inner City Press that Mkapa demanded a raise -- up to $1500 a day -- and was rejected.

Mkapa then took his demand to the East African Community heads of state. Will he get the payday? By declaring Pierre Nkurunziza legitimate because Ambassadors still present their credential to him, Mkapa is working for the money. But $1500 a day?

   There are other of his advisers gunning for up to $500 a day, including one who is said to have previously help arm CNDD-FDD related groups. Yes, we'll have more on this.

On January 4, Inner City Press asked about the Security Council's (lack of) Follow through on Burundi, to Ambassador Delattre of France, the "penholder" on Burundi. Tweeted video here.