Sunday, June 4, 2017

On Burundi, Kafando to NY This Week, UN Confirms ICP, Mkapa Complains of EAC Leaks, Waste

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, May 29 -- That Michel Kafando was being pushed as (part-time) UN envoy on - but not in - Burundi was first reported by Inner City Press on April 20. Now even as the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric refused to answer Inner City Press' question if Kafando has begun his "When Actually Employed" work, Inner City Press learned, and the UN then confirmed, that Kafando will come to New York this week. The mediation is in shambles: William Mkapa has said his documents were leaked by the EAC Secretariat of Liberat Mfumukeko to his / Nkurunziza's Burundian government. And Mfumukeko has been accused, by an inquiry of most of the EAC, of misusing EAC funded for disproportionate travel to Burundi and otherwise. (Mfumukeko says since Burundi did not participate in the review it is not an official EAC investigation). We'll have more on this.
 On May 23, Inner City Press asked the UN about it, transcript here: Inner City Press: on Burundi, I'd asked you before whether Mr. [Michel] Kafando had started yet, and I didn't understand the answer.  Has he started?  Is it true that he'll be coming to New York next week?  And does the Secretariat or DPA [Department of Political Affairs] intend to comply with the timeline and file a written report with the Security Council about Burundi in June?

Spokesman:  As a matter of policy, we… we do our best to follow the instructions and mandate given to us by the Security Council.  It is my understanding that he will be here next week to meet with officials in DPA.  And so he'll be here next week.

Inner City Press: And can you ask DPA whether they've agreed not to file a written report?

Spokesman:  I think that was my first answer.  
  Extremely troubling, sources still tell Inner City Press that the UN's Department of Political Affairs has agreed with France to simply drop the requirement of a written report in June to the Security Council about Burundi, including human rights. "They are selling out," as one soure put it. Tout est a vendre. After repeated no-comments, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on May 5 confirmed the appointment. Inner City Press immediately asked, is it part-time? Yes: transcript below. He's had nothing to say about the dubious pro-Nkurunziza outcome of the "inter-Burundian dialogue." On May 18, when Inner City Press asked Dujarric about Musaga, he wouldn't even say if Kafando has begun work and is being paid. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press:  In Burundi, there's been grenade attacks followed by mass arrests in this Musaga neighborhood, which is one of the most involved in protests against the Government.  So, particularly, given the mass arrests, I'm just wondering… I'd asked you before a couple of Burundi questions… has Mr. [Michel] Kafando begun his work yet, and if so, what does he say about these developments?

Spokesman:  I don't have an update on Burundi, but I'll see what I can get for you.
  Five hours later, like clockwork, Dujarric left having provided no information - except a veiled threat / denunciation of publishing leaks.What will Kafando say about William Mkapa going along with Nkurunziza's arrest warrants against his opponentsproblematizing any trip to Entebbe in Uganda? On May 16, Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: about Burundi.  There's two things have happened.  One, the intra-Burundian dialogue is over with a move to now amend the Constitution.  Some people say it would allow now for a fourth term for Pierre Nkurunziza.  And also, a group of the opposition members have written to… to Mr. [Benjamin] Mkapa very upset that he's asked them to sign a legal waiver to go to the next round of talks, which would basically, they think, allow them to be arrested on what they call trumped-up arrest charges by Nkurunziza, the same issue that took place in Tanzania.  So, I wanted to know, do you… either does the Secretary-General's Office have a comment on this or his new part-time envoy, Mr. [Michel] Kafando…?

Spokesman:  I don't have anything on Burundi today.
  And six hours later as he left, nothing. From today's letter: "we were surprised to find that the invitation to the session scheduled from 24 to 25 May 2017 contains several clauses that exclude civil society leaders. In effect, it is not normal for the facilitator's team to request some associations to nominate representatives who are not under arrest warrants... The organizations concerned* urge the Facilitator and the Mediator in person to address the situation and remove all ambiguities and guarantee the effective inclusiveness andsecurity of the participants in the dialogue session dedicated to civil society in exile inEntebbe as well as the future sessions."
   Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric if when Guterres met Yoweri Museveni he even brought up Burundi. No, was the answer. What happened to "preventative diplomacy"? What happened to the UN Security Council's resolution to send 226 UN Police to Burundi? When Security Council member Sweden's Permanent Representative Olof Skoog entered the Council on May 8 and Inner City Press asked him about Kafando being part-time, Skoog expressed surprise, saying "I think this is a full time job." UNTV boom mic video, put on YouTube by Inner City Press, here. So did the UN Secretariat (and penholder France) not tell Security Council members this important information about the When Actually Employed envoy to Burundi, a country where the UN says there is a risk of genocide? 
* The signers: 1. ABR, Sé Patrick Nduwimana, President 2. ACAT, Sé Maitre Armel Niyongere, President 3. APRODH, Sé Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, President 4. FOCODE, Sé Pacifique Nininahazwe, President 5 .FORSC, Sé Maitre Vital Nshimirimana, President 6. OPB, Sé Innocent Muhozi, President
   On May 9, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Antonio Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here. The Pierre Nkurunziza government's Ambassador to the UN Albert Shingiro insists that Kafando was not named Special Envoy on Burundi but Special Envoy "in general who Guterres could send to Burundi or elsewhere." Photo of Shingiro's tweet hereThis is a new low, on which we'll have more. From the May 5 transcript. 
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.