Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Surprise Change in Leadership for UN-AU Darfur Force

There's more news from the UN today,this time from Darfur where, as you know, the UN and AU are struggling to fully deploy UNAMID.

While the replacement of the UNAMID force commander, Nigerian General Martin Agwai (for whom a farewell ceremony was held today in El Fasher) was expected, as was his replacement with a Rwandan General, another change was not.

Indeed, the Special Representative of the Secretary General, former Congolese Foreign Minister Rodolphe Adada resigned today, effective August 31st.

This is not to say the change is not welcome because it is. As the article says,

Western diplomats said Adada's job was a difficult one, since Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, an indicted war crimes suspect over Darfur, created bureaucratic obstacles that have slowed UNAMID's deployment.

The diplomats said there was a broad consensus that Adada did not try hard enough to speed up UNAMID deployment. The U.N. secretariat, they said, was also dissatisfied with his performance, but since the appointment was made jointly by both the U.N. and the AU it was not possible to get rid of him.

"He hasn't been the most effective head of a mission," a Western diplomat said on condition of anonymity. "We were unhappy with him for a long time but the AU protected him."

And you'll note that while the Secretary-General's statement on the matter couldn't have been different, as MK pointed out to me earlier today, it fits with the beefs listed in the Norwegian memo.

But U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised Adada.

In his reply to Adada's letter of resignation, quoted in the online version of Sudan Tribune newspaper, Ban said he "led UNAMID with distinction during its most challenging initial deployment phase and in an environment of unprecedented difficulty."

So, another thing to keep an eye on: is the UN going to start firing field leaders who perform badly or even not well enough? What constitutes good leadership in these types of missions and who should measure that performance? At what point should say, the Security Council, the Secretary-General or a combination of others be able to fire mission leaders?

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