Why I am opposed to Dr. Tedros Adhanom becoming the ninth director-general of WHO

10 May

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

For those who are pressed for time, they have my sympathy. As a retired person, I recall how that frays the nerves.

My persuasion in opposing Dr. Tedros Adhanom’s aspiration to become ninth director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) has benefitted from life experiences, my education at home and abroad, as well as international experiences as a former diplomat for my country and as international civil servant with the United Nations in New York and Geneva.

The fact of the matter is that, WHO is the single most vital global organization in the field of health and the mechanism for global collaboration in the eradication of diseases and the goal of improving societal quality of life. WHO states in its Principle 2 and, despite enormous setbacks, as it endeavors to ensure realization of:

    “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition. The health of all peoples is fundamental to the attainment of peace and security and is dependent upon the fullest co-operation of individuals and States.”

Let it be known that I have been opposing Dr. Tedros Adhanom’s candidacy with no personal animus whatsoever, notwithstanding what some allege. I would be most grateful if it is understood that I would continue to oppose the candidate with every fibre inside my body to become the director-general that he may redefine to suit the purposes for which he is being co-opted, for the five reasons listed hereunder, as a succinct summary of my justifications:

    (a) Dr. Tedros Adhanom’s rise to the high-level posts he has arisen in Ethiopia are dividends of his ethnicity within the ethnic minority Tigray People’s Liberation Front-(TPLF) led regime, not hard work, any significant experiences in government or professionalism.

    (b) TPLF political propaganda aside, the past decade and a half have shown us Dr. Tedros Adhanom suffers extreme inadequacy in the vitally-important quality of leadership to lead WHO: Integrity.

    (c) Dr. Tedros Adhanom’s years of service at cabinet level posts, nearly 14 years now, have adequately shown his lack of belief in the essential fundamental principles, such as the equality of all persons and dignity of the individual. This makes him incapable of running any international program or high-level office. Unmistakably, this betray he is not be loyal to the Charter of the United Nations and WHO Constitution and its nine principles thereof.

    (d) Dr. Tedros Adhanom believes in personal charm. Can that be a substitute for action, especially in ensuring the WHO important mandates, which with every passing year are being undermined by big capital, international political influences and market interests? I do not think so!

    (e) Conventions have important place in an organization’s life. Accordingly, we need to keep in mind that all eight hitherto WHO directors-general have been medical doctors. Already five out of the six candidates for the post that must be filled by 1 July 2017 are/were medical doctors, now reduced to three – of which two are physicians. As malaria researcher, Dr. Tedros Adhanom is not. Going against this longstanding tradition of the organization, I strongly feel, would have unwanted consequences. Note that, under the guidance of the Executive Board and the World Health Assembly, the director-general is required to oversee disease surveillance, development of new medicaments for certain specific treatments of new kind of diseases, tested and proven vaccines for epidemics across the globe – a task that cannot be left to the pharmaceutical industry alone. Global experiences have shown that it always keeps its eyes on the bottomline!


Political deceits in Ethiopia, state violence, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission & UN Human Rights High Commissioner’s role

In an expedited, but pretenstious report of April 18, 2017, aiming to weaken resolve of the United Nations in its outstanding request for access to its human rights experts to investigate the killings by the security forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front–(TPLF)-led regime of unarmed Ethiopian protesters, no matter how low the number of the victims is, at least, the TPLF has conceded about 669 Ethiopian citizens being killed in August/September 2016 in three regions of the nation – Oromia, Amhara and SNNPR.

It is unconscionable that a report to exonerate this lawless and heavily-armed regime should dwell on blaming the victims. Recall that the report itself was prepared by the man who led the election-rigging in May 2015 as vice-chairman of the national election commission. In what the TPLF announced as its ‘electoral victory’ was appointed Ethiopia’ human rights commissioner, only through its tons of lies and misrepresentations again continuing to prolong the regime in power. All that this has done is expose the regime’s immorality and arrogance, entirely failing to assume full responsibilities for its massacre of citizens!

Preceding that, more preceisely already in August 2016 the TPLF regime reacted to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein’s investigation request, according to the latter’s spokesperson, in mid-August 2016 the regime notified him that it would undertake ‘independent investigations’ of its own into the deaths of those several hundred Ethiopians.

Further, in a typical characteristic of the regime, according to the TPLF media, this report on the killings of citizens received endorsement from a coterie of political parties, it has fostered and utilizes them for such political purposes. Those are: Ayele Chamiso’s UDJ, Mesafint Shifferaw’s All Ethiopian National Movement (AENM), Girmay Hadera’s Ethiopians for Justice and Democracy (EJDF), and Alemayehu Deneke’s The New Generation’s Vision (NGV).

Not at all these brutal actions of the TPLF regime and now its attempt to deceive the international community an exception, or unusual aberrations. In the wake of the 2005 election, under orders by dictator Meles Zenawi, following TPLF’s loss of popular support had launched an avalanche of bullets on citizens protesting the electoral theft in Addis Abeba. Sadly, it ended up with the deaths of about 200 individuals within a few hours. There were similar massacres in front of the Addis Abeba University early on, followed by deaths in Hawassa, Gambella, Dire Dawa and elsewhere – too many to recall.

Those, the nation has lost at different times, were citizens that strongly felt for a long time denial of their human rights, justice, equality of citizens and freezing of all freedoms and civil and religious rights in the country. All along, the same have been the testimonies of the United Nations entities, nongovernmental organizations and international human rights organizations about the absence of respect to human rights and citizens’ safety and security in Ethiopia.

Comes in wheeler-dealer Tedros Adhanom

Of interest here is the fact that, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, one of the three candidates presently (along with Dr. David Nabarro of the United Kingdom and Dr. Sania Nishtar of Pakistan) to the highest post of director-general in the World Health Organization (WHO), has since 2005 been a member of the TPLF politburo, where all these crimes against citizens are being hatched and the execution order is given.

It’s important to recognize that Dr. Tedros Adhanom started out into the ease and freedom in human rights violations and massacres: first as Ethiopia’s minister of health from 2005-2012 and then minister of foreign affairs from 2012-2016. Since November 2016, he has been designated advisor to the prime minister with the rank of minister.

As a highly placed individual at policy-making levels at the respective highest positions within the TPLF regime, Dr. Tedros Adhanom has been accused of serious integrity problems. These include ethnicity-based nepotism, siphoning of aid money to shore up TPLF political cadres and infrastructures. Something he could not hide or disguise is these resulting in his poor management of the offices he had led. Most vivid is also the corruption he had allowed in the ministry of health, I had discussed in April 18, 2016 article: Does Dr. Tedros Adhanom have the qualifications & integrity to become next WHO Director-General?.

Moreover, as confirmed by the auditors of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which this page has extensively discussed in a number of articles, have shown us that something was wrong with the level of accountability of the person and his thinking and vision. This screenshot hereunder is from that audit page.

From Audit Reports and Diagnostic Review issued by the Global Fund’s Office of the Inspector General on 20 April 2012 (Credit: GF)

For me, however, verifiable allegations that are consequential to his election as the ninth director-general is the candidate’s involvement in serious crimes of human rights violations. Some of these are committed, as part of TPLF’s deliberate now quarter century-old policy in Ethiopia, in which Dr. Tedros Adhanom has had his share as part of the collective responsibility within the top leadership of the TPLF-led regime.

Those crimes are inconsistent with the aims and objectives of the United Nations Charter and the principles in WHO’s Constitution.

Who could speak better to the TPLF’s violation of the human rights of the Ethiopian people than the United States government, on whose comments Christiane Amanpour bases her questions to the then foreign minister Tedros Adhanom. In her question, she intimated to him what the US National Security people, especially the head of the agency Susan Rice had said behind the regime’s back and in public.

Poor foreign minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom was caught unprepared on international television. His efforts at cover-ups on CNN of the electoral thievery for the fifth time in 25 years could not sensibly find answer convincing for CNN watchers, as we learn from the video hereunder!

like everything else, what goes up must come down. What has been out in the public domain can no more be hidden, whether the massacres of citizens, decades of human rights by the TPLF, resources thievery and corruption, or the inequality it has perpetuated in the country! As they say, the genie is out of the bottle, despite the cover up by the TPLF human rights commission’s report of 18 April 2017.

Beyond deaths and destructions, during his three-day visit in Ethiopia about ten days ago and speaking to journalists the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said there was a “clear need for a much wider and freer civic space” in Ethiopia.

As to the TPLF game with its report on the killings, the high commissioner could not budge. He reiterated:

“I believe my staff ought to be given access to the affected areas, and I renew my request, so we can assess the situation and ascertain what further support can be given to the authorities, including justice officials.”

It is in the light of the above, why it becomes a real disgrace when some contemplate to emplace a character from this violent and killer regime such as Tedros Adhanom to lead the World Health Organization, the only United Nations health organization, whose demise is being sought badly by those that are eager to take over its mandates and prosper!

Going this path, it has elected Tedros Adhanom through the African Candidature mechanism only to make generations to come the victims of this fateful decision!

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