The UN’s Deadly Incompetence, Ctd

by Brendan James

A Zimbabwean cholera patient sits in his

Not long ago we posted on the UN’s cover-up of a cholera outbreak in Haiti, sparked by a peacekeeping mission in 2010. It turns out there was another outbreak on their watch, in Zimbabwe, which left 4,000 dead in 2008-09. A whistleblower in the UN tried to warn his superiors about the growing epidemic, but was fired by his chief officer, on behalf of that officer’s friends in Mugabe’s government. It was an election year, after all. Armin Rosen digs deeper:

The UN and [officer Agostinho] Zacarias’s chief responsibility should have been to Zimbawe’s embattled civilian population. Instead, both failed to live up to their obligations — even as they were conspiring against someone who had exceeded them. That campaign even seeped into the tribunal proceedings, as Zacarias and the UN made specious and unsupported claims in court that Tadonki had been accused of sexual harassment while based in Harare. It didn’t work, but the UN’s efforts are continuing even now: the UN has stated that it is appealing its own tribunal’s decision, and according to [lawyer Robert] Amsterdam, the World Body has taken the first procedural steps necessary to retry the case. At a March 6 press conference, a UN spokesperson refused to comment on the case — except to say that “judgments of the UN Dispute Tribunal are not final until they have been confirmed by the UN Appeals Tribunal,” and that “the Organization intends to file an appeal of this judgment.”

(Photo: A Zimbabwean cholera patient sits in his bed on February 27, 2009 at a hospital in Harare. By Desmond Kwande/AFP/Getty Images)