Times of London reports on Ban’s vote buying

Update: The Indian press has picked up on this too and going into their typical feeding frenzy.

We have said that this is an extremely important issue and deserves a higher level of scrutiny. Now a mainstream newspaper has documented the charges. The basic framing is:

Mr Ban announced his bid in February and has since been criss-crossing the globe trying to win support. A month later South Korea announced that it would treble its aid budget to Africa to $100 million (£53 million) by 2008. Seoul then contributed tens of thousands of pounds to sponsor this year’s African Union summit in the Gambia in July, when Mr Ban declared 2006 to be “the Year of Africa” for South Korea.

Then the article discusses Tanzania. This is one of the clearest cases that we have discussed:

One fortunate recipient was Tanzania, which currently has a seat on the Security Council. When Mr Ban arrived in May he pledged $18 million for an educational programme and also promised to carry out a road and bridge project in western Tanzania. Between 1991 and 2003 South Korean grants to Tanzania totalled $4.7 million. Seoul’s generosity seems to have worked. Yesterday Elly Matango, the Tanzanian Ambassador to Tokyo and Seoul, said that his Government had decided to support Mr Ban

Next stop Greece:

This month President Roh and Mr Ban headed the most senior South Korean delegation since 1961 to visit Greece, another Security Council member. Overseen by hundreds of South Korean businessmen, the countries signed agreements on trade, tourism and maritime transport.

It is about time that the media gives this race proper scrutiny. We believe that more examples are out there and need to be properly discussed and identified. In many countries, this kind of behavior would disqualify a candidate for public office and open them to criminal prosecution. We have trouble seeing how a candidate that acts like this has any credibility leading the UN.

This is important because it provides the US and UK a reason to veto Ban while also undermining the credibility of the UN. Conservatives in the US especially will use this as another reason to distrust the UN.

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