Ex-UN commander Johnson Ondieki claims UN sacked him to save face


Turkish envoy nominee Johnson Ondieki has defended his sacking as South Sudan peacekeeping commander saying the UN took the decision “to save face for systematic failure”.

Ondieki was sacked in November 2016, a situation that saw Kenya order its troops off the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNIMISS) following the stand-off.

He explained the reasons before the National Assembly Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations on Friday.

Ondieki said he was sacrificed and a one-sided story was given about his dismissal.

“Up to date, I have never known the accusations against me,” he said.

Ondieki said after his appointment, due process was not followed because he never went to New York for induction. He said he was sent directly to South Sudan.

“I took it upon myself to go to South Sudan after appointment by the Commander-in-Chief, although I should have first gone to New York to meet the team I was to work with,” he said.

Ondieki said since there was no predecessor, he did not have anyone to hand over to him.

He said he spent the first two weeks going round the field and learning how the force worked.

In the third week, he returned to the camp when the Juba Crisis 2016 happened.

He said the system he found prohibited him from making individual decisions.

He said a crisis meeting that included the head of the mission, force commanders of all other 26 countries was held. Ondieki said they all had vested interests.

“That was unlike in Somalia when I was running the force, and I took full responsibility by giving orders,” Ondieki said.

He said in South Sudan they protected more than 46,000 people. Ondieki said they took them to the camp since they had a mandate to protect civilians.

“We were few in number, we could not reach everyone in Juba,” Ondieki said.

The UN got a backlash from the media and other organisations following the crisis.

“After four months, I got a letter inviting me to go New York for induction. When I got to NewYork I was told there was a report blaming me for not protecting civilians,” he added.

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