(Dec. 1, 2010) The United Nations, the IMF, and the “Unholy Trinity of Waste, Fraud and Abuse”, M. Frindéthié

It is under kofi Annan, when he was Secretary General of the United Nations, that the split of Cote d’Ivoire between a rebel North and a constitutional South got sanctified. At the time, Kofi Annan was under pressure by the Bush administration to show patte blanche on the “oil for food” program and France needed to regain control of the richest French-speaking African country that was progressively distancing itself from Paris under President Gbagbo’s leadership. Chirac and Annan had something to give each other: Annan needed Paris’s support to fend the American onslaught and Chirac needed the United Nations to weaken Gbagbo. Annan’s/the UN’s sanctification of the Northern rebellion in Cote d’Ivoire tells a compelling story: While Africa should be proud of its sons of daughters who have “made it” on the global stage, on the other hand, Africa should remain extremely wary of the petite bourgeoisie that has been reared in the nurseries of such organizations as the United Nations, the World Bank, and the IMF, a petite bourgeoisie whose interests lie in the maintenance and continuance of Africa’s enslavement. In 1997 the world and Africa in particular greeted with much elation the appointment of the first sub–Saharan African, Ghanaian Kofi Annan, as head of the United Nations. Annan even received some praise and enthusiastic wishes of success from very unlikely supporters. Then senior vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, John R. Bolton, who would later become one of Annan’s fiercest critics, had this to say of Annan’s “win” over Tanzanian Salim A. Salim. “The winner, Kofi Annan, was certainly preferable to Salim. Virtually all Annan’s career has been within the UN system, frequently in management and personnel positions. Few know the “system” better than Annan. He is therefore in the best possible position to deliver on reform, for bureaucratic trials, jargon and obfuscation are not likely to distract him if he is engaged. From January 1, 1997, forward, the world can judge his performance.” Could it be that the “system” to which Bolton was referring was what Stefan Halper named the United Nations’ “unholy trinity of waste, fraud, and abuse,” for indeed the world got to judge Annan and the verdict was resoundingly depressing? Truly, “a kleptocratic culture of non-accountability at home was transferred to the world body.” Annan managed the United Nations as a traditional Ghanaian village chief would manage his family plantation, that is, with no regard to transparency and good governance, but rather with particular propensity for nepotism, dereliction, and corruption. Under Annan’s predecessor, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, corruption, which was rampant in the United Nations, was thought to have reached its peak. However, Annan, who had been waiting for years in the antechamber of power, in the shadow of Boutros-Ghali as under-secretary general of the United Nations, was going to prove the critics of his boss wrong even before he had his chance to preside over the destiny of this most money-hungry institution. In a feat of pathological perfectionism Annan was going to take corruption to its uppermost eruption and claim for himself the palm of the world’s shadiest official. For Annan, how better could he claim the center of capitalism than to accumulate capitalism’s most valued assets, that is, money? So, when under his auspices the United Nations had the opportunity to administer the Oil-for-Food program, a program with a capital five-fold the United Nations’ own budget, Annan sought illegal means to hoard as much as he could of these funds either directly or indirectly. Indeed, in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, the United States had imposed a series of trade embargoes on the Saddam regime. However, as is well known, sanctions imposed on despots have generally been circumvented by the governing classes they are meant to squeeze and have usually brought hardships on the ordinary people. To prevent this pattern from repeating itself in Iraq, the sanctioning authority allowed Iraqi oil to be sold, provided that the takings of the sale should be managed by the United Nations and utilized to buy food and humanitarian supplies for the people of Iraq and to fix the destroyed infrastructures of the country. In 1996, Kofi Annan was charged by Boutros-Ghali to administer the Oil-for-Food program, which was spasmodic at the time. Among the expert brokers that Annan brought in to make the program effective were his own son Kojo Annan and infamous Robert Mugabe’s nephew Leo Mugabe. Within seven years, the Annan dream team for the management of the Oil-for-Food program was able to reorient and embezzle billions of dollars with the complicity of Saddam, and this grand theft “would have succeeded without a hitch had not Saddam Hussein’s regime been overthrown and the Oil-for-Food program been transferred in all its mysterious splendor to the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.”Of the 67 billion dollars that the export of oil generated between 1996 and 2003, Annan’s head of humanitarian program, Benon Sevan, before retiring to his 1.5-million-dollar mansion in New York, was able to report “31 billion in supplies of food and medicine delivered to the Iraqi people, leaving $8.2 billion in humanitarian goods still to be delivered…. $3 billion had gone in development funds to rebuild Iraq.” What of the rest? Well, in this age of digitized information, the United Nations internal managers/investigators for the Oil-for-Food program were sorry to inform the world that with the bombing of Baghdad by the coalition troops, important documents pertaining to the program got lost—as if the headquarters of the United nations were located in Saddam’s personal palaces; as if the United Nations, this over-budgeted institution, were still keeping records on first-century scrolls. In fact, “[t]he Oil-for-Food scandal is a potent indictment of the way business is done at the UN Secretariat. It represents the ongoing impeachment of the UN system, a symbol of continuing massive corruption involving the theft of close to $11 billion in revenues…. In fact, this recent scandal is not an aberration at the UN. It forms part of a pattern that can be considered the norm.” Where else than at the United Nations, the World Bank, and the IMF, these cradles of world corruption, could the black slaver fulfill his dream of tending exponentially toward the glittering center of white bliss? Where else than there could he accumulate the fastest possible that which allows him to mark his difference from the bottom billion crouching in the rural poverties of Africa and Asia? Where else than there could he amass the necessary assets that would make him a modern man in the urban space, in the company of the white? Annan’s attitude is symptomatic of the black elites’ perfectionist superfluity. The African petite bourgeoisie reared within such world organizations as the UN or the IMF, affected by inferiority complex, and that “pander[s] to Western opinion.” is on a binge for praise. Alassane Ouattara belongs to that class of approval seekers, and he would do anything to please the West and to avoid the West’s reprimand. Laurent Gbagbo does not fit the mold of France’s black governors as represented by Bokassa, Bongo I, Compaoré, Biya, Nguesso or Ouattara. The latter has been exposed as a vile politician that is more concerned about protecting the interests of his imperialist masters than ensuring and safeguarding the welfare of the Ivorian people, a people that has vowed never to bend to the imperialist pressure. His multiple calls for a popular uprising since 2002 and his attempts at coups d’état have repeatedly failed. His Occidental masters, however, are resolute to put him on the throne in spite of the people’s resistance. This sets the stage for another African calamity.

Read more in K. Martial Frindéthié’s Globalization and the Seduction of Africa’s Ruling Class: An Argument for a New Philosophy of Philosophy (McFarland, 2010)

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One Response to (Dec. 1, 2010) The United Nations, the IMF, and the “Unholy Trinity of Waste, Fraud and Abuse”, M. Frindéthié

  1. phedoraj@gmail.com says:

    This article is very helpful. It has offered me great insight for understanding the reasons behind most of Africa’s woes. I have always viewed Africa as « troubled » yet not fully understanding that this was due to gross abuses in leadership not only in Africa but perpetuated from abroad as well.

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