By G Oguda
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should never have released that statement directed at Raila Odinga over the remarks he made to our government, regarding the dismissal of Gen. Ondieki from the United Nations Mission In South Sudan (UNMISS).
There is need to draw a clear boundary here, because Jubilee are now overstepping their mandate, on this overly sensitive issue that has the potential to put Kenya on a coalition course with the rest of the world.
Anyone who has read the report that landed on Ban Ki-Moon’s desk would agree with the decision to relieve Gen. Ondieki of his duties and seek a fresh head of the Mission. Look here, there is no way aid workers and UN staff housed at a hotel compound can be attacked by South Sudanese soldiers, and UN peacekeepers right under their nose failing to come to their aid despite multiple requests for forces to be dispatched.
It is worse that South Sudan is a volatile hotpot of simmering political magma, it is extremely dangerous that Gen. Ondieki slept on his job, if at all he was at work that day, when aid workers and his fellow workmates needed his intervention the most. Due to his ineptitude and negligence, South Sudanese forces turned the bases upside down with reckless abandon assaulting women near the entrance to a UN compound in plain sight of the peacekeepers, who waited for orders which never came.
What Jubilee is suggesting now is exactly what fanned the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, and we should not allow it to happen.
For a long time, Africa had been crying that they had been overlooked for the position of the UN Secretary General. When the turn to replace Javier Pérez de Cuéllar who refused to vie for a 3rd term came, the Non-Aligned Movement – that group of states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc – insisted that the next UN Secretary General come from Africa. The UN General Assembly succumbed to their demand, a straw poll was conducted and Boutros Boutros-Ghali, then Egypt’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, was hired for the job on 1st January 1992.
And if they thought an African was the best fit for that most demanding position, then they were very wrong – because in 1994, when Rwanda Genocide checked in, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) were caught flat-footed, ill-prepared and ball watching.
The UN still regards their failure to stop the Rwanda Genocide as their greatest tragedy in Africa, to date. The Rwanda debacle, coupled with his goofs with the Angola War and the Somalia hunt for Mohammed Farah Aideed, gave Boutros-Ghali the dubious records of being the only UN Secretary-General not to be elected to a second term in office. He stepped down immediately in 1996 to be replaced by the Ghanaian, Koffi Annan.
The first thing Koffi Annan did on assuming office was to commission an independent investigation into the 1994 Rwanda bloodbath. The report was damningly scathing. It showed a UN peacekeeping mission unwilling to act on information from the field that a massive slaughter was occurring and that they needed to do something to stop it.
It is the same crimes Gen. Ondieki committed while Head of UNMISS, for which he has now been relieved of his duties.
Ban Ki-Moon is the guy who succeeded Koffi Annan, and he does not want the South Sudan mayhem to degenerate into another Rwanda butchery under his watch. He asked the UN to allow him retire this year because he wants to vie for the Presidency of South Korea in 2017. Someone ambitious like that would not want his last days in office to be muddied by a Kenyan general putting the UN mission in an already volatile state like South Sudan, in senseless jeopardy. He was bound to crack the whip to protect the integrity of the United Nations for which he has tried to serve with utmost dignity and professionalism. It was the most sensible thing to do, whether Kenya throws toys off the pram or not.
We should not let Jubilee antagonize the diplomatic world under our watch.
This latest tantrum-throwing has the potential to jeopardize Amina Mohammed’s quest to be AU Chair. If she can write such toxic statements directed at the United Nations then what can’t she do while at the summit of the African Union? Is this the same person we will expect to play an impartial arbiter if the 2017 elections turns acrimonious and Jubilee the guilty party?
There is a dangerous pattern forming here, and it is not a positive one. I supported Amb. Amina Mohammed for the AU Chair position but I am currently having serious doubts over her suitability for that highly-demanding role. Let it be known that I am withdrawing my support, because I do not want to be party to such hate-mongering group keen on putting Kenya on a warpath with the rest of the diplomatic world, for which there will be only one winner.
This country is greater than any single individual.