UN OCHA Head Position: MONUSCO Head, Martin Kobler Loses to British Stephen O'Brien

Stephen O'Brien, British MP and Activist in 2012

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On November 26, 2014, the United Nations (UN) Under Secretary General (SG) of Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Baroness Valerie Amos, resigned from her position. Since then, several people outside and inside the UN have been seeking the position. On March 9, 2015, the  UN Spokesperson,  Stephane Dujarric,  announced that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has picked Stephen O'Brien,  a former Member of Parliament of Great Britain and reknown activist, to take over UN OCHA head posiition.

According to sources within the United Nations in New York, outside UN candidates, usually nominated by their countries, had come from Europe and Asia. Italy had nominated Emma Bonino. The United Kingdom (UK) had put forward the names of Andrew Lansley, Caroline Spelman, and Stephen O'Brien. United Arab Emirates (UAE) had proposed Lubna Khalid Al Qasimi.

The secretive nomination process has been, at some point,  surrounded by  controversy. At some point, sources close to the process alleged that some heads of states  tried to interfere with the process, by calling the UN Secretary General to promote or press for  their candidates.

 MONUSCO Head Martin Kobler: Highest Hopes Dashed

One of the most hopeful candidates was Martin Kobler, proposed by Germany. Martin Kobler is the UN SG Special Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the head of UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO. Having lately been facing a lot of challenges, sources close to MONUSCO told AfroAmerica Network said that he and his closest aides and supporters  viewed the position as an honorrable exit for him. 

First, he failed to win the cooperation  of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) government in his efforst to lead military operations against Rwandan rebels in DRC. He had to throw the towel and remove himself and the UN Peacekeeping forces from the operations.

Second, there are allegations of scandals within his administration. Martin Kobler is blamed for having missed several cases of corruption within MONUSCO. In some incidents,  the Deputy Permanent Representative of Ivory Coast to the UN is said to have sold UN police posts within MONUSCO.

Hence, some viewed that the UN OCHA Head position given to Stephen O'Brien, could have been the best way for  Martin Kobler to leave MONUSCO with a less tarnished reputation.  Martin Kobler is expected to end his assignment with  MONUSCO in May 2015.