Legwaila v. Axworthy

Legwaila: I am the boss!

The Daily News

5 Feb o4


Kofi Annan’s Special Rep. Legwaila J. Legwaila is not known for holding frequent or regular press briefings. As a matter of fact, he held a total of only 4 press briefings ever since his appointment in September of 2000, out of which the most recent one on 3 Feb 04 was the first of its kind in New York, although he has been much more frequently in New York. So, why did Mr. Legwaila choose to hold his latest briefing at a time, place, and juncture only 3 days later after Axworthy’s appointment as SR/envoy (SR or Envoy is really a matter of semantics because it is all about running diplomatic errands) to an area where Legwaila is also a SR? Well, well-informed observers say that Mr. Legwaila wanted to take the opportunity of a press briefing to make his presence felt and to emphasize his relevance in light of the media frenzy about Axworthy’s appointment. That could not be necessarily far from the truth and with it the stage is set for a foreseeable battle of competence and authority between Axworthy et Legwaila- God forbid!

The first taste of this came when Legwaila told reporters that “ demarcation is the sole responsibility of the EEBC working out of the Hague”, a fact that is in the books of the int’l community now being forwarded to  the new kid on the block, L. Axworty, as a humble pointer and a petit lecture not to mess with it.

The second taste of Legwaila v. Axworthy showdown came when a correspondent asked Legwaila “what would be your advice to Lloyd Axworthy?” and Legwaila “replied that he had not yet made up his mind, but he would certainly have some advice when he saw him in person, for he (Legwaila) had been there for more than three years”. Translation: Legwaila to Axworthy: I have been there before you, I have over three years of experience in there, and you will have to listen to my advice: I am the boss!

Redundancy leads to duplicity of responsibility that not only creates friction but is also the reason why things don’t get done.

Axworthy’s appointment is redundant; and if it is not coupled with an ultimatum, brace your selves for more competence and authority wrangling and the resulting perpetuation of the status quo.

The UNSC has laid out exactly what Axworthy’s assignment, not a mandate, is: Plain and simple Facilitator not Negotiator. His main job/assignment is to make it easier, if at all, for Ethiopia rulers to accept, comply with, and abide by the Boundary decision without qualification? And without ultimatum, that cannot be taken serious either.