Does the international call for Tedros Adhanom resign from World Health Organization Director position make sense?
borkena, Ethiopian News
Tedros Adhanom, first African to lead the World Health Organization (WHO), is facing calls to resign over his decision to make Zimbabwe president, Robert Mugabe, WHO goodwill ambassador for communicable disease in Africa, which is already rescinded.
It was at a conference at Uruguay last week that Tedros Adhanom, as cited by The Daily Mail, announced ‘I am honoured to be joined by President Mugabe, of Zimbabwe, a country that places universal health coverage and health promotion at the centre of its policies to provide healthcare to all.’
His decision caused an international outcry by influential leaders in the health sector, politicians and “human rights defenders” on grounds of political behaviour and “human rights records” of president Robert Mugabe.
The director general didn’t take much time before he made a U-turn to change his mind. It took only two days after he announced the appointment to rescind his choice of Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador. His (WHO)statement partly reads as follow :
- “…Over the last few days, I have reflected on my appointment of H.E. President Robert Mugabe as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases in Africa. As a result, I have decided to rescind the appointment.
I have listened carefully to all who have expressed their concerns and heard the different issues that they have raised. I have also consulted with the Government of Zimbabwe and we have concluded that this decision is in the best interests of the World Health Organization…”
Tedros Adhanom is a member of the ethnic-based political party, Tigray People’s Liberation Front TPLF, which ruled Ethiopia for the last twenty-seven years. He served as minister of Health between 2005 and 2012 and as a minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia between 2012 and 2016. His TPLF party ( in fact government ) spent millions of dollars in Africa and elsewhere to make him an African candidate for World Health Organization’s top position and ultimately make his candidacy a success. Running against the backdrop of relentless opposition from Ethiopians, he emerged as a winner. The party and his ethnic support base celebrated his win for director-general position with a mixture of rants and typical TPLF chauvistic rituals as it was rather considered even a political victory over the position at home and as hallmark of recognition internationally.
Ethiopians were opposing his candidacy for WHO director general position on grounds of his service and defence of the regime in Ethiopia which is known by reputable international Human rights organization as one of the leading violators of human rights. The regime even at one point rejected a call by UN human rights body to investigate killings of hundreds of civilians during a peaceful protest.
Now Ethiopians are questioning if the international outcry against Mugabe as WHO goodwill ambassador for communicable disease in Africa makes any sense in light of Tedros Adhanom’s own record of passionate defence of human rights violations in Ethiopia, much worse than the violations in Zimbabwe.
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