15 JULY 2008

One would rightly wonder who the heck is Adada? To those who followed closely the election campaign for the new Secretary General, the indicative answer is that he was the former Foreign Minister of the Congo, a member of the Security Council in 2006 that elected Mr. Ban Ki-moon.

Again, a sensible person would rightly ask: What does that have to do with the solution to the tragic and prolonged Darfur crisis? To those counting the subsequent appointments of the 2006 non-permanent Council members to posts of Special Representatives in the field, the obvious answer -- from Denmark to Slovakia in alphabetical order -- is that the Congolese was assigned as "Joint Special Representative" for the UN African Mission in Darfur, UNAMID.

One would further enquire: And what did Monsieur Adada add to the situation in Darfur since his appointment in Al-Fasher? The obvious answer is: nothing at all. For all practical purposes, Dada Adada proved beyond doubt that he was totally irrelevant on the ground.

One, excuse the repetition, may well question why is the question raised? To those following media articles on the intricacies of the region, the answer would simply be that Adada produced an article under his name in The Wall Street Journal assuring us that since his arrival all was going very well. Understandably, it is loaded with politically correct language like "building the infrastructure needed" to fulfill the mandate of protecting civilians, improve security, facilitate humanitarian aid and engage the parties to the conflict. After listing such generalities, he claims that his mission has been able to defend thousands of innocent Darfurians "such as women gathering firewood to cook meals for their families." Wish it was true. For as he himself admits a few lines later, one of the most disgusting aspects has been the widespread of rape of women by armed thugs on all sides. His other claim to accomplishment is that the mission made 271 patrols in January and almost tripled to 644 in May, that is 20 per day, and blames the media for not reporting that as headlines. If Adada did his homework while serving on the Security Council, he should know that a mission with so many widespread vulnerable people will have to make a minimum of 90 patrols per day throughout that "area the size of Texas." The rest of Adada's claim is two parts. One is a set of repetitive platitudes like "we will work to empower civil society" and "together we can make a difference" which is mainly aimed to impress readers in New York rather than help the people of Darfur. The other is a combination of clueless and confused observations. "We are here to keep a peace that doesn't exist; it is the duty of the belligerents to make peace;" he pontificates as if he has no role to play in edging conflicting parties to the peace table. "Whatever anyone tells you, there is no simple solution to Darfur," is certainly not an original thought. "Even if we were at full deployment, our peacekeepers are not here to stand between rival armies and militias engaged in full-scale combat," gives a further indication that the man may have been the Foreign Minister of the Congo but certainly not a determined soldier for peace. Impressed as we are that he managed to place a piece in the very influential Journal, we will certainly be more impressed if he manages to really help protect the people of Darfur where crime has increased tremendously since his arrival, particularly raping helpless women and where more splits are occurring among combatant groups.

One may rightly explore the difference between Special Representative Adada and the Special Envoy -- the frequently traveling Jan Eliasson who openly admits failure to accomplish one inch of a step forward. The answer would be that one is roaming while the other is stuck "sur place." Or, to a veteran observer attuned to music, the answer would be in a Stephen Sondheim's Little Night Music: One keeps turning around; while the other can't move. The song is entitled "Send in the Clowns"!