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Women caucus pushes Tibaijuka case

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30- A caucus consisting of women from around the world on Monday wrote a petition to have Anna Tibaijuka reinstated as the head of the United Nations office in Nairobi.

The women described the manner in which Mrs Tibaijuka was removed from office as unfair and gender insensitive.

The women who had earlier held demonstrations at the UN complex said they were collecting signatures for the petition and later present it to the UN governing council that is currently meeting at the UN headquarters.

“Coming from the Third World and rising up to such a position, she should be encouraged. Her predecessor served for seven years and she has been in office for just two years,” said one of the women Magdalene Kannae of Ghana.

“She was the only woman and an African to have assumed that position. We felt it was a humiliating process under which the UN Secretary General conducted the process and we want people to know that,” said another woman, Agnes Kabajuni of Uganda.

Ms Birte Scholz of Huairou Commision said: “There is no clear reason why with only one year left of tenure she was removed”

But Mrs Tibaijuka refused to be drawn into the debate.

“I am a UN staff member and I have complied with the decision of the Secretary General, obviously I am not best placed to comment further on that,” she stated.

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon promoted the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner to be head of the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON).

"The Secretary-General made this decision in view of his policy of rotation among his senior managers. Mrs Tibaijuka will continue to serve as the Executive Director of the Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), a position she has held since 2002," a statement from the UN’s Information Director Nasser Ega-Musa said.

This led to demonstrations by over 400 staff members of UNON to voice their discontent over Mrs Tibaijuka’s replacement with the UNEP boss.

Mrs Tibaijuka served as both director general of UNON and Executive Director of UN Habitat. She has since retained her position as Executive Director of UN-Habitat.


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