UN Speaks out on Eritrean Crisis

Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-wha Kang (centre) pays a visit to a mobile dental school bus in the Maekel region of Eritrea

Western diplomats have continued to quietly meet opposition leaders as the country prepares for the 2016 elections.

ChimpReports broke the news on Thursday that envoys of UK, side effects EU, this Ireland and Netherlands had met Amama Mbabazi at his residence in the leafy suburb of Kololo, Kampala. The meeting lasted four hours.

We have now established that on the same day, the western diplomats including the US envoy met Dr Kizza Besigye at night in Masaka.

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The meeting held at Hotel Brovad kicked off at 7:00pm till 10:00pm. This website is yet to obtain details of what transpired in the meeting.

However, the timing of both meetings is suspicious considering that both Mbabazi and Besigye have been projected by polls as incapable of defeating Museveni in the 2016 elections.

It will be recalled that late last year, the western bloc led by Moreno Ocampo, UK Premier David Cameron and Kofi Annan sat down Mbabazi and Besigye to agree on a joint candidature.

Mbabazi said he had built enough capacity and potent grassroots structures to take the presidency. On the other hand, Besigye maintained he could not rally behind Mbabazi whose commitment to good governance and accountability was questionable.

With the duo failing to reach a compromise, it was decided by the western-funded TDA Secretariat that both the FDC and Go Forward candidates stand in the election.

The candidates’ performance on the campaign trail would be monitored to assess their strength and forge a way forward.

Interestingly, the presidential campaigns show Besigye as more politically stronger than Mbabazi. It is suspected the diplomats are still trying to woo Mbabazi and Besigye to agree on a single candidate.

“The diplomats met Mbabazi in the morning before driving all the way to Masaka to meet Besigye. They are trying to mediate a deal,” said a highly placed source.

The development could cause unease in the ruling party as a joint opposition front could pose a stronger challenge to the incumbent.

At a recent press conference, Mbabazi ruled out the possibility of an alliance with Besigye. However, he said, both camps would work together in vote protection during the election exercise.
The United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, order Kyung-wha Kang, wrapped up a three-day visit to Eritrea on Wednesday, where she urged broader support for the Government’s efforts to meet basic needs and build resilience of the country’s most vulnerable communities.

Ms. Kang also welcomed the growing opportunities for engagement between the Government and UN partners and fruitful collaboration in implementing the Strategic Partnerships Cooperation Framework (SPCF) 2013-2016.

Thanking the authorities for their warm welcome and hospitality, Ms. Kang reiterated the readiness of UN development and humanitarian actors to work together with the Government towards the speedy conclusion of the SPCF for 2017-2020.

During her visit, Ms. Kang met with Osman Saleh, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Yemane Gebreab, Head of Political Affairs of the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice and Presidential Advisor; Yemane Gebremeskel, Minister for Information; Arfaine Berhe, Minister of Agriculture; Amna Nurhusein, Minister of Health; Semere Russom, Minister of Education; and Kahsay Gerehiwet, Minister of Labour and Human Welfare.

She also met with humanitarian, development and donor representatives. The discussion dealt with the full range of challenges facing Eritrea, including human rights and the implementation of the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review recommendations (UPR), and the role of the UN and international actors in support of Government endeavors to meet basic needs and build the resilience of the most vulnerable communities in the country.

Together with the Minister of Health, Ms. Kang visited Serejeka and Gashnashm in the Maekel region, where she saw Government-led nutrition and basic health programmes that help thousands of children and mothers with the support of UN agencies.

“Programmes that provide supplementary feeding, immunization and nutrition surveillance are vital to reducing malnutrition and building resilience,” she said.

“Eritrea has made significant progress in improving child and maternal health, and I urge partners to continue supporting national and international efforts,” she added.


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