UN: Sam Kutesa's Election Rewards Militarism, Corruption, And State-Homophobia
UN General Assembly President-Elect Sam Kutesa
Statement From Milton Allimadi, Publisher of The Black Star News and Initiator of Petition On Change.org To Block Sam Kutesa From UN General Assembly
13,421 Sign Petition
The election of Mr. Sam Kutesa, Uganda's foreign affairs minister as President of the 69th General Assembly today is a disappointing travesty and damages the reputation of the United Nations Organization.
More than 13,421 -and-counting people from all over the world have signed a Petition on Change.org opposing Mr. Kutesa's candidacy and had called for UN members to vote against it and for Secretary of State John Kerry to revoke his U.S. visa.
The Petitioners will continue to make their demands known in the hope that before the General Assembly opens in September 2014, this injustice will be redressed.
How can an official who faces conflict of interest as his private company Entebbe Handling Services (ENHAS) has contracts to provide services in many United Nations airports in Congo and in South Sudan be President of the General Assembly of the UN?
Mr. Kutesa was censured by Uganda's Parliament over 15 years ago for corruption, again involving the same company ENHAS, when Parliament found that he had abused his position as junior minister of finance to siphon the assets of Uganda Airlines for the benefit of ENHAS. The Parliament heard that he had partnered with Gen. Salim Saleh, the brother of Gen. Yoweri Museveni, Uganda's president. Parliament heard that he also threatened the life of a witness.
Mr. Kutesa has faced numerous corruption allegations. Parliament heard that he accepted a bribe from a foreign oil company. He was reportedly involved in the disappearance of $150 million of national funds allocated for hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Uganda in 2007 and as a result of that the U.K. considered revoking his visa to Britain. American ambassador to Uganda Jerry Lanier in 2010 wrote to the U.S. Department of State that Mr. Kutesa's "corruption is egregious."
In Uganda Kutesa is close to President Museveni, who is unwilling to hold him accountable for corruption Ambassador Lanier also noted.
Mr. Kutesa could end up facing resignation as a result of the conflict of interest with respect to ENHAS and the UN.
(Following The Black Star News's expose of his private business dealings with the UN Kutesa in a statement at the UN after his election said: "Following my election by the United General Assembly as President of the 69th Session, I have decided to take leave of absence from my business holdings for the duration of the session. As President, I intend to focus on working with the UN membership and other stakeholders to find solutions to the global challenges facing us today.")
What's more the regime that Mr. Kutesa represents, of President Yoweri Museveni in Uganda does not share the values and principles of the UN enshrined in the organization's charter.
Uganda was found liable in 2005 by the International Court of Justice for war crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo and was ordered to pay reparations of $6 billion to $10 billion. Gen. Museveni himself realized the seriousness of the ruling and The Wall Street Journal reported on June 8, 2006 that he asked then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to block a separate ICC investigation that had been launched.
In February 2014, Gen. Museveni signed Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act, a law that discriminates against Uganda's LGBT and imposes life-in-prison terms. The law also imposes jail terms of as many as 7 years to people who protect LGBT community and don't "out" them to the authorities.
The Guardian has reported that attacks on LGBT community in Uganda has increased from 8 for almost the entire of last year to 162 between December 2013 and May 2014, since the Anti-Homosexuality Act was enacted.
The United Nations is the world's primary organization for promoting justice and human rights for all regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, political affiliation, religion and certainly sexual orientation.
The silverlining in Mr. Kutesa's candidacy is that he has attracted global media attention on the human rights abuses of the regime in which he serves and corruption in Uganda.
Mr. Kutesa who has been censured by Uganda's legislature for corruption, who is foreign minister of a regime that's engaged in wars of aggression, who faces a conflict of interest with respect to ENHAS and the UN, and who supports Uganda's homophobic law is not suitable to be President of the UN General Assembly and must step aside.