SUDAN WATCH: African Union President believes the real issue of Darfur is governance

Friday, December 03, 2004

African Union President believes the real issue of Darfur is governance

Indian blogger Jitendra is a software engineer who works in Lagos, Nigeria and writes about local issues. Some of his recent posts feature the President of Nigeria who presides over the African Union and owns a private farm that earns him 250,000 USD every month.

Yesterday, hours after a meeting with President Bush at the White House, Mr Obasanjo said, "the government of Sudan can be condemned, but it's not as ... genocide."

When asked in an interview with CNN if he agreed with the call by the administration of US President George W Bush, Obasanjo replied: "Now, what I know of Sudan it does not fit in all respects to that definition."

Mr Obasanjo said he agreed with President Bush there is an acute problem in the region that needs to be addressed, but added "the real issue of Darfur is governance." "It is a political problem which has mushroomed into a military (one) when the rebels took up arms," the Nigerian leader said.
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Note: One would hope Mr Obasanjo could speak out and condemn the government of Sudan for poor governance and speed things along to help the people of Sudan. It is not easy to understand the reasons behind the lack of urgency or why African countries refuse to condemn the government of Sudan. Last week they voted against a UN General Assembly resolution that would have condemned Sudan for human rights violations. The vote must have been music to Khartoum's ears and encouraged them to think they were off the hook.

It's no wonder the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., John Danforth resigned yesterday. He must be so disillusioned after working hard to help Sudan over the past three years. He's had to handle what's going on in Iraq and Sudan while dealing with a rift between the UN and the US. Some news reports say he was hoping to replace Colin Powell.

An API news report out today explains that in recent months, Ambassador Danforth had been pressing Kofi Annan to send more election staffers to help with the January 30 vote in Iraq. According to the report, "Annan recently raised the ceiling on UN international staff allowed in the country from 35 to 59, but won’t go higher because of escalating violence — to the annoyance of US officials."

Seems Mr Annan can wield power when he wants. Here's hoping he will step down to make way for UN reform. Perhaps the findings of the current investigation into the U.N.'s Oil for Food program will be the catalyst.

No doubt Mr Annan has tried his best and the UN has had some successes. But the UN, even as it stands today, is better than nothing at all. It is all we have and the world is changing fast. The US refuses to pay its subs to the UN on time and channels aid through its USAID organisation rather the UN. It would be good to see a Nobel Prize winning woman in as Secretary-General of the UN and President Bush bringing the US back into the fold while the UN is reformed.

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