By George Okello In London via the UAH forum
You see here the FDC’s achilles’s heel gets exposed once again with the appointment of Winnie Byanyima as Executive Director of UNAIDS. You must be supported by your own government in order to be appointed to such a position. Conversely, your government can block your appointment if it does not want you as it constantly blocked Olara Otunu’s apointment to Deputy Secretary General to the extent of forcing him to take the citizenship of the Ivory Coast.
Obviously Kayibanda has no problem with his former girlfriend being appointed to this position, but what about the FDC?It is the same problem the FDC had with the appointment of Anne Mugisha to the UN regional office in Somalia. To get the support of the Ugandan government, she had to kneel down before Kayibanda and promise to withdraw completely from politics, a promise she has kept up to today.
So what promise has the FDC got from kayibanda for supporting the appointment of Byanyima to this top position? Winnie was on her way out of Oxfam anyway following the horrible sex abuse carried out under her watch by Oxfam staff on very vulnerable girls in poor countries, so this post has come at the right time for her.
With apointments like this, many people do not see any difference between NRA and FDC. The difference is very cosmetic as the two feed on each other and need each other to survive.
Uganda needs a completely new start.How is backing Byanyima decent when Kayibanda has blocked every single person from the north who has been appointed to an international job requiring home country endorsement?
Olara Otunnu comes to mind. Kayibanda blocked Otunnu time and again from when he wanted to stand as UN Secretary general and when he was appointed Deputy Secretary general. Poor Otunnu was forced to look for a friendly African country to sponsor him, and that’s how he ended up with the Ivory Coast citizenship.
And what about me? I was appointed to a legal post in the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, then based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I had then returned from the Philippines, and at a meeting of Amnesty International, I met the then Director of the Commission who came to talk to us about the Commission, which was still new. Later on at dinner, he said he was very impressed by my overall grasp of African human rights issues, and my energy and enthusiasm, so he asked me to go and work for him in Addis Ababa, a request I accepted.
I was then asked to make a formal application for the role and was invited for an interview in Addis Ababa. This was a lengthy selection process that involved a written exam, presentations, face to face interview and then a final interview with the Directors. They selected two of us, out of 9 candidates who had competed for the roles.
But to my surprise, I was then told the job required home country approval. I knew at that point, all my effort was wasted. I went to the Ugandan Addis embassy and spoke to some officials there, who assured me they would deal with the matter there at the embassy level, and not pass it on to the Foreign Affairs ministry. I then left and returned to London, and expected the whole process to be completed in about 2 weeks.
After 3 weeks, I got a telephone call from the Addis embassy, telling me that my request for country endorsement had to be passed to the Foreign Affairs Ministry as the embassy had no authority to deal with it, and that somebody would be in contact with me.
In the meantime, the commission was pressing me, wanting to know when I would sort out the endorsement process so that I could start.
After 6 weeks, I finally got a message, from the Uganda embassy in London, telling me I would not be endorsed by the government of Uganda because of the work I had done for international human rights organisations, which was very critical of the Ugandan government, and of Kayibanda Museveni in particular.
Eventually I withdrew my application, even though the Director still wanted me to join them, but at a lower level as an Assistant Legal Officer, which did not require any country endorsement. But I turned it down.
The issue is not about qualifications. Every candidate considered for such a job is highly qualified. Olara Otunnu was for eg highly qualified and met all the required job specifications to be appointed Secretary General or Deputy Secretary General of the UN.
The issue is that for some international jobs such as at the UN, AU, International Court of Justice, World Bank etc, you cannot be appointed to some positions, unless you are endorsed by your own government. Qualifications and experience are required, but home country endorsement is essential and is a road block that disqualifies many competent candidates.
In my case, it wasn’t even a question of being qualified, because I had already done and passed a written test, a video presentation and two oral interviews in a selection process lasting one week.
Looking back, I was not really surprised that I was blocked by kayibanda Rubatisirwa. The African Commission for Human Rights was new and one of its key tasks was to investigate human rights abuses committed by African governments. It was created by the OAU as it was known at the time, but was not universally welcomed by many African governments, including Uganda.
The Commission had problems from the the very beginning with many governments refusing to cooperate with its investigations. Kayibanda Rubatisirwa knew I was going to push for an investigation of Uganda, and especially as the Genocide in Acholi was raging at the time. The last thing kayibanda Rubatisirwa wanted was an investigation by a Commission of the OAU, and so he blocked my appointment.
Actually, the Commission became ineffective as the years went by, it was starved of funds, and moved its HQ from Addis Ababa to Banjul, Gambia to save costs. The Director who appointed me left in frustration after a while.
Later on much of the work of the Commission was taken over by the International Criminal Court, or ICC, which had a higher profile, stronger mandate, and stronger investigatory powers. This time to protect the integrity of the court, governments have no role in the appointment of judges of the court.
But even with these added power and authority, you can see the ICC still faces a huge problem, most of which stemming from reluctance of African governments to cooperate with its work and opposition and hostility from the USA. .
So in the case of Byanyima, she would not have got the UN AIDS job without the nod of kayibanda Rubatisirwa. Only Byanyima and the Fdc know the pound of flesh kayibanda Rubatisirwa demanded for his goodwill. Anybody who has known the modus operandi of the pot bellied Rwandan knows he does not give free meals.
UAH’s Abbey Semuwemba, this is the tribalistic Rwandan thug you have the temerity to call “decent”. Give me a break.
I think FDC is making a huge blunder by making these sorts of backroom deals with kayibanda. It will come to haunt them one day, and they will live to regret it. Winnie Byanyima is scum, and I see no reason why FDC should sacrifice its credibility for her. She is a millstone around Besigye’s neck, and he can never be elected president with Winnie Byanyima holding his waist. Take it or leave, but that’s the fact.What I am saying here is that this UNAIDS appointment has the hallmarks of a case of ‘scratch my back and I will scratch yours’.