By David Himbara
The US President Donald Trump has lately been criticizing the World Health Organization (WHO) for what he calls faulty response to the Coronavirus. Trump and his administration accuse WHO of initially withholding information about the extent of the Coronavirus in Wuhan, China. The Americans say that WHO effectively embraced the Chinese official line of disinformation. The Administration says that while WHO described the virus as a global emergency, it nonetheless recommended that countries keep borders open. Trump says he rejected this advice and banned most travel from China, later extending to European countries.
Put simply, Trump accuses WHO of a biased and pro-China stand and is threatening to withhold American funding. On April 7, 2020, Trump put it in these terms: “The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?”
Rwanda’s head of state, General Paul Kagame, could not stomach Donald Trump’s criticism of WHO which is headed by Kagame friend, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Kagame demanded to know who Trump was attacking and why: “Is it Dr Tedros, WHO, China under attack or all of them together? Let us focus on the fight against this pandemic, whoever should be held accountable will come later and done properly. Save us too much politics Africa does not need. Who does?” Kagame added: “Dr Tedros as leader of who has full confidence and support of Africa.”
Kagame and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus are buddies who support one another no matter what. When Ghebreyesus became the boss of WHO, among the first persons he thanked was Kagame. As Ghebreyesus put it, “@PaulKagame I have no words to thank you Mr. President. Your support has been phenomenal from start to finish! So proud. Murakoze Cyane.”
After Ghebreyesus settled in the WHO big chair, he went to Rwanda to visit his friend Kagame from 11 to 12 January 2018. He flattered Kagame for building a great health sector, the dismal state of health infrastructure and scarcity of health professionals in Rwanda notwithstanding.
After the Coronavirus struck Africa, WHO’s boss thanked Kagame for good preparation to fight the disease. As he put it, “for months, African leaders have prepared for the arrival of #COVID19. Thank you, @PaulKagame, for discussing the importance early action at country level & continental activation of coalition of political & business leaders.” Notice the level of Ghebreyesus’ flattery to Kagame and company – “for months, African leaders have prepared for the arrival of Covid19.” Ghebreyesus is a smooth political animal.
Ghebreyesus simply loves dictators. You may recall that in October 2017, he tried to appoint Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe as WHO’s goodwill ambassador. The whole thing backfired – Ghebreyesus rescinded his foolish appointment after an international outcry.
As for the Kagame-Trump fight over WHO, stay tuned.