[QODLink]
Africa

UN accused of Zimbabwe cholera cover-up

Tribunal finds that UN bosses did not act on warnings by senior member of its staff in order not to upset Robert Mugabe.
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2013 18:58

A United Nations investigation has reached a damning verdict on its own humanitarian operation, accusing it of "managerial ineptitude, high handed conduct and bad faith."

The findings refer to its operations during a Cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe that started in 2008 and claimed more than 4,000 lives.

The UN dispute tribunal in Nairobi, Kenya, in effect found that UN bosses did not want to upset the government of Robert Mugabe, and did not act on warnings by a senior member of its staff. One hundred thousand people caught the disease.

Months before the outbreak of the cholera epidemic in 2008, which coincided with a time of heightened political tensions in Zimbabwe, Georges Tadonki, the then head of the UN humanitarian office in Zimbabwe, warned his superiors of the severe risks, but no action was taken.

Tadonki claims that he was fired in January 2009, partly because he sounded the alarm about the cholera crisis.

“Mr Tadonke pressed the issue, and this tribunal has heard that he was hounded out of his job, and his lawyers said he suffered a nervous breakdown as a result.” Al Jazeera’s Diplomatic Editor James Bays said.

“What the UN also said is that there should be disciplinary action against four very senior UN officials, including the former humanitarian chief of the UN, John Holmes.” Al Jazeera’s Bays added.

“Now, all those four officials are no longer in their posts, so it is not clear what kind of action can be taken against them.”

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told Al Jazeera that the world organisation intends to appeal the judgment.

“The Organisation intends to file an appeal of this judgment. Consistent with the established policy regarding ongoing cases, which includes cases under appeal, the Organisation is not in a position to provide any further comments at this time.”

306

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Activists say 'Honor Diaries' documentary exploits gender-based violence to further an anti-Islamic agenda.
As Syria's civil war escalates along the Turkish border, many in Turkey are questioning the country's involvement.
Treatment for autism in the region has progressed, but lack of awareness and support services remains a challenge.
The past isn't far away for a people exiled from Crimea by Russia and the decades it took to get home.
New report highlights plight of domestic helpers in the United Kingdom, with critics comparing it to kefala system.
join our mailing list