Monday, October 17, 2005

The Vote for Food scandal

Dr Jaques Diouf has taken another step towards ensuring his third term confirmation as Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations by inviting Mugabe to the FAO 60th anniversary celebration. Diouf took office on 1 January 1994 for a term of six years as head of the organization and was reelected for a second term in 2000. In the UN, the Secretary General may serve two terms of 5 years, but in FAO, it seems, this is “optional” (Edouard Saouma gave the first bad example by serving from 1976 to 1993).

The DG should leave at the end of his second term, but he doesn’t want to; so he needs to convince as many member states as possible to vote for him again. This has been easily and extensively done through selective recruitment: an organization that used to employ excellently qualified people on the basis of merit to better serve the world’s needs, has now become a political entity whose selection criteria are based on race “quotas”.

There is also another way, cheaper but effective: African and Caribbean countries whose governments have often chosen to praise Mugabe’s policies for obvious reasons, can be appealed to by showing sympathy and understanding to Mugabe, Castro (a habituĂ© of FAO ceremonies), Chavez and the like.

In today’s speech, Diouf stressed the importance of FAO as "a neutral forum in which nations come together to address food and agricultural issues."

So neutral in fact, that food and agriculture were the only issues discussed:

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Monday railed against U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, calling them "international terrorists" bent on world domination like Adolf Hitler.

Mugabe departed from his text at a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to accuse Bush and Blair of illegally invading Iraq and looking to unseat governments elsewhere.

"Must we allow these men, the two unholy men of our millennium, who in the same way as Hitler and Mussolini formed (an) unholy alliance, formed an alliance to attack an innocent country?" he said.

In the meantime the BBC sees fit to write an article about the event but doesn’t even know the name of the agency:

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