Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, January 05, 2007

Another Bone-Headed Ban-ki Move

As I've written earlier, the biggest job for Ban-ki Moon is to clean up the mess at the UN. To accomplish that will require both his attention and the attention of a strong Deputy Sec Gen.

Today he appears to have utterly botched the second part, naming as his Dep Asha-Rose Migiro, Tanzania's Foreign Minister -- and yes, she does look quite shell-shocked in the photo the UN provided.

It may be because she has a resume that screams that she is grossly unqualified for the job: She's been Tanzania's foreign minister for just six months and her UN experience was positions Minister of Community Development, Gender and Children's Affairs and, one year ago, head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Hardly a career of knocking down walls, fereting out corruption and rebuilding a nearly-destroyed organization.

To get a sense of the general response to the appointment, let's listen in on a few of the questions asked in today's UN press briefing, where the questions led off with Migiro:
Question: I understand that Ms. Migiro is an African and there needs to be Africans in the senior ranks at the UN, and that she is a woman, and there needs to be women in the senior ranks at the UN, but I don’t quite understand what her qualifications are as a manager. Can you point to her achievements, or any concrete achievements on her record, as a manager, so we can describe why she should be the person to run the UN?

Question: The way you described her record, she seems to be an academic, who spent five years as the Community Development Minister. It does not seem that she has ever -– beyond the Community Development Ministry in Tanzania –- had to manage a large organization.

: But you mentioned that ... there is no better person to run -– to be first to take care of the management here at the UN?

: You said that he worked with her, and I may have missed it at the top -– where did he work with her, how often have they met?

: What about how often have they worked together where?

: I guess, still the question is: it would be one thing if the UN had some clear blue skies the last 5, 10, 20 years, but the Organization faces massive problems, staff morale being down, Capital Master Plan –- the building being renovated, questions about corruption in procurement… It’s a huge job. Why is someone who has spent years as Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children’s Affairs remotely the best candidate for this?
Why indeed? I'm beginning to think it may be because the best job Ban-ki will ever do at the UN is the job he did running for the job of Sec Gen.

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