In the view of some UNESCO watchers and employees, these words left open the possibility that he would accept a draft for reelection, and a guessing game has been going on in UNESCO corridors in the last few weeks about whether he really will leave. The game, in a sense, reflects his power, for many analysts are convinced that [M'Bow], despite all the accusations of megalomania and mismanagement against him, has enough Third World support among the 159 member states to win reelection if he tries.
Talking with reporters at the reception, M'Bow hardly sounded like a defeated figure retreating under fire. He insisted that UNESCO has demonstrated its vitality in the face of the withdrawal by the United States and Britain. He said the United States is not attacking UNESCO as much as it is attacking all multilateral organizations in a campaign that threatens the United Nations itself.
M'Bow has taken the position for some time that much of the criticism directed at him comes from white critics who want to belittle Africa. Replying, for example, to criticism of his lavish living quarters, M'Bow said in a recent issue of the Paris newsmagazine Nouvel Observateur, "Am I supposed to live in a hut in the middle of Paris just because I am an African?"