On Burundi’s 10 Year Sentences For Human Rights Workshop, Inner City Press Asks UN


On
Burundi’s 10
Year Sentences
For Human
Rights
Workshop,
Inner City
Press Asks UN

By Matthew
Russell Lee, Video,
Video

II

UNITED NATIONS,
March 13 —
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.
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

videoworking 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
Dujarri
c. 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, a
fter

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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