The Campaign of Calumny Against Kofi Annan

by Dr. Wunmi Akintide

Last time around, it was Butros Butros Ghali of Egypt. This time, it is Kofi Annan of Ghana. The attempt by the present US Administration to blackmail and run the best African Secretary-general out of town on silly trumped-up charges of incompetence and mismanagement, because of some administrative lapses in some Units of the UN, should be seen for what it is. It is a cheap shot to destroy a good man, and to turn him into a cartoon character in much the same way like the current US Administration has often done to individuals who do not support their policy or share their way of thinking, and who have the temerity or the back bone to speak out or maintain their independence, come rain or shine. The Bush Administration’s tolerance level for such independence streak is very low. The Administration or their hatchet men will go after you, if you dare call their bluff or show by your words and action that there could be a better way, other than the one pursued by the US Government. They think America rules the world. If you disagree with that notion of America, you must forever keep your peace or take a hike.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand why Senator Norm Coleman would be calling for the resignation of Kofi Annan over some allegations which are still being investigated fully, and for which the Secretary-general has, so far, cooperated fully from all we are able to see as an outsider. Can you imagine anybody suggesting that President Bush ought to resign over his brazen incompetence and mismanagement of affairs in Iraq and the global War on Terrorism. Rather than any one suggesting that, the President has always moved to find a scape goat to hold responsible or sacrifice for his lapses or shortcomings on that front.

It is instructive that most of the European nations and the Pacific nations in the UN are not jumping the gun to quickly side with the United States on their criticism of Kofi Annan. Kofi Annan should have known, there was going to be a price to pay for taking the position, earlier on, that the War in Iraq was illegal, because it was unilateral and was never at any time approved by the majority vote in the Security Council. Kofi Annan was correct to courageously state that as a neutral person who must not be seen to side with any country in the UN, no matter how powerful.

It is common knowledge that America considers herself not just as the “primus inter pares” in the world body, but as the big bully in the block, the leader, the founder and the conscience of the world body. The current Administration, unlike previous Administrations before it, expect America to always lead and for other nations of the world to just follow sheepishly, because America has the military power, the wealth and the leverage to take the whole world for granted and to damn the consequence.

That explains why for some time France and Germany for daring to oppose the Bush Administration for rushing to War in Iraq and diverting important resources from the more important War on Terrorism that the whole world has voluntarily joined America to prosecute, after the 9/11 attack on America. The consensus in the whole world was that America was wrong to rush to war in Iraq without, first of all, securing the unanimity of the Security Council, if not the whole General Assembly. The whole world had thought that America should have allowed the inspectors led by Hans Blix and El Barade to finish their inspection, before rushing to War. But President Bush had thought otherwise, because he strongly believed that fighting Iraq was going to be a cakewalk because Saddam Hussein and his Army were already weakened to a point of no return, and had been put in a box, so to speak, by 12 years of relentless wars and attrition following the 1991 Gulf War which Iraq lost so badly, because Bush the father, unlike his son, knew that America was stronger when she is not alone, and that America cannot afford to flaunt her power like a lion. She has to defer to the rest of the world, if she wants to succeed. The junior Bush cannot lead if he does not know how to follow. The same thing is true of America.

G. W. little realized or appreciated the resiliency and the national pride of Iraq/Babylonia one of the relics of the greatest world civilization in the Middle East region. President Bush was going to fight them in their own country, and he thought it was going to be easy. The quagmire in Iraq today is the result of that miscalculation, incompetence and mismanagement which had led to hundreds of US soldiers being killed and thousands of Iraqi people and soldiers and innocent children being slaughtered while the entire country is being bombed into shreds by American smart weapons.

We now know how Harlliburton and other mercenaries had mismanaged the funds provided for the War in Iraq and that so much money had been squandered and misappropriated. Rather than being asked to resign, Bush has been given four more years. He is sitting tight and still giving orders to the rest of the world, despite his blunders in Iraq, and the Palestinian situation. But one of the best Secretary-generals the UN has ever known, is being run out of town, and being asked to resign because of human errors made, here and there by some unscrupulous staff working for him. Kofi Annan was the first to admit that some mistakes were made and that remedial actions should be taken. As a matter of fact, he had initiated the move to name the former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker to lead the effort to investigate the allegations with a view to clearing up the mess, and apportioning blame. Kofi Annan had done all that was necessary to correct the mistakes and to punish the culprits, as mandated by the Law and the UN rules and regulations. This Administration is looking for ways to humiliate the African candidate by all means. Forcing Kofi Annan to resign is not the right thing to do, as the whole world, but the Bush Administration knows, he has done a marvelous job as Secretary-general, all things considered. Kofi Annan is one of the few Secretary-generals to be honored with the Nobel Peace award before leaving office, in recognition of that fact.

Kofi Annan truly belongs to the class of great Secretary-generals like U Thant and Dag Hammaskjold. Let no one make any mistake about it. Kofi Annan like President Bush and Senator Norm Coleman, is not God Almighty, and can therefore make mistakes and correct them just like any of us. He, Kofi Annan, holds the belief and I totally agree with him that anything made by man, even things made by God, can be infinitely improved. The records of Kofi Annan at the UN speak for themselves. His views on the Iraq War is the consensus of the views of the more than 192 members of the United Nations and the majority of the Security Council. He should not be so afraid of the United States awesome powers and leverage that he would then gag his own conscience, just to please America. His greatest sin with this Administration is expressing the collective views of the UN, and doing so with clarity and candor but with diplomatic finesse.

The world must not allow him to be guillotined or pilloried for doing his job the right way. The whole world must come to his rescue and tell this Administration to get off his back. He must be allowed to finish his term as Secretary-general without let or hindrance. The African Union, the Arab League and the non aligned countries or the world and the newly formed coalition of Pacific countries led by China and the European Union and NATO countries must come to the rescue of Kofi Annan before he is made a scapegoat by the Bush Administration. The time is now for these powerful blocks to stand up for Kofi Annan, just like he has stood up for the whole UN when it mattered the most.

The attempt by this Administration to incite the UN senior and junior staff to mutiny against their boss is part of the carefully orchestrated plan to blackmail and punish Kofi Annan for doing his job as a good and competent Secretary-general must conduct himself in office. All the talk about mismanagement of funds at the UN under his watch, are all nonsense contrived to damage the honor and credibility of one of the best Secretary-generals of our time, who just happens to be black. I urge Senator Norm Coleman to take a hike, and get off the back of the Nobel Peace Laureate of a Secretary-general. Butros Butros Ghali was sent packing by the same kind of forces a few years back. Another African son must not be disgraced out of office. If all things go well in the Basilica the next Pope must of necessity emerge from Africa. It leaves a sour taste in the mouth if every time an African is driven out of office the same way Butros Ghali was run out of town, it becomes a a bad precedence for the African sub region. The world must not allow that to happen. Kofi Annan has my vote any day because he is one of the best, if the truth must be told. Leave the Secretary-general alone for goodness sake.

I rest my case.

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