Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

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© Image Copyright : Photo from Wikimedia Commons / Author of Photo: M. Jacobson - Gonzalez - ITU Pictures from Geneva, Switzerland

Overview

  • Ethiopia’s former Minister of Health and Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Was elected Director-General of the World Health Organization in 2017
  • Nominated Robert Mugabe, the Marxist former president of Zimbabwe, to serve as a WHO Goodwill Ambassador in 2017
  • Purposely covered up three separate outbreaks of cholera in Ethiopia, so as to avoid the impact that a public admission of a cholera epidemic might have on tourism and on his party’s public image
  • Was alleged to have helped facilitate a systematic genocide targeting the Amhara people of Ethiopia
  • Was accused of complicity in the commission of “crimes against humanity”
  • Served as a propagandist on behalf of Beijing in a massive coverup of China’s role in unleashing the deadly worldwide coronavirus pandemic in 2019-20

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was born on March 3, 1965 in the city of Asmara, which at that time was in Ethiopia but is now the capital of neighboring Eritrea. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Asmara in 1986, a Master of Science degree in Immunology of Infectious Diseases from the University of London in 1992, and a PhD in Community Health from the University of Nottingham in 2000.

After graduating from college in 1986, Tedros joined the Ethiopian government’s Ministry of Health as a junior public health expert. Following the fall of Mengistu Haile Mariam, the tyrant who ruled Ethiopia from 1977-91, Tedros moved to London to attend graduate school. He then returned to Ethiopia and in 2001 was appointed head of the Tigray Regional Health Bureau. Two years later, he was named a State Minister of Health.

From 2005-12, Tedros served as Ethiopia’s Federal Minister of Health. During his tenure in that position, he purposely covered up three separate outbreaks of cholera (in 2006, 2009, and 2011) by simply renaming the deadly epidemics as “Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD)” – even after the diagnosis of Vibrio Cholerae, the bacteria that causes cholera, had been confirmed. According to the Amhara Professionals Union, a Washington-based organization that seeks to protect the political and economic rights of the Amhara people of northwest Ethiopia: “[Tedros’s] priority … was to conceal the impact a public admission of cholera epidemic might have on tourism and [the] image of his Party, rather than protecting the international community and attempting to reach out to the affected areas. Such a sad error due to lack of judgment resulted in a nationwide epidemic.”

From 2012-16, Tedros was Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. While holding that position, he greatly strengthened his own personal — as well as his nation’s — ties to Communist China. Indeed, during Tedros’s years as Foreign Minister, China loaned more than $13 billion to his impoverished country — investments that were intended, in part, to make Ethiopia a strategic bridge for Beijing’s imperialist designs on the African continent.

In December 2014, Tedros and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi wrote a joint op-ed in which they gave voice to the close bond that was developing between their respective countries. Below is an excerpt from that piece:

“[O]n the basis of the principles of equality, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, China and Ethiopia have developed multi-dimensional relations, with people-to-people, business-to-business, government-to-government, and party-to-party relations as the cornerstones of the relationship. We are sincere friends, reliable partners, and good brothers … each rejoicing in the successes the other has achieved…. China has become the biggest foreign investor and the largest trading partner of Ethiopia.”

In 2017, Tedros ran for the post of Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. But at that same time, a report appeared in the Ethiopian News & Views bulletin stating that he stood accused of complicity in the commission of “crimes against humanity.” That charge was related not only to the three aforementioned cholera coverups, but also to allegations  surrounding Tedros’s longstanding political affiliation with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), an organization that: (a) grew out of the Marxist-Leninist League of Tigray (MLLT); (b) was responsible for horrific atrocities in Ethiopia — particularly targeting the Amhara ethnic group in the country’s northwest region; and (c) had become Ethiopia’s principal ruling party. In the 1990s, the U.S. government listed TPLF as a terrorist group. The Global Terror Database continues to list it as such, given the organization’s ongoing commission of armed attacks in rural areas. Meanwhile, the aforementioned Amhara Professionals Union has issued many accusations of systematic discrimination and human-rights abuses perpetrated by TPLF.

Tedros, for his part, is a high-ranking member of TPLF’s Central Committee, or politburo. The “crimes against humanity” allegations pertain, in part, to a systematic genocide that was carried out — at a time when Tedros was a leading figure in Ethiopia’s public-health infrastructure — against the Amhara, whom TPLF has identified as its “eternal enemy.” As the Amhara Professionals Union explains:

“The candidate has treated his own citizens differently based on their ethnicity…. [Tedros], who descends from Tigre ethnic group, disfavored the ‘Amhara Regional State’ through poor health care. For instance, disproportionately high mortality coupled with selective application of contraceptives use has led to a selective reduction of the growth rate of the Amhara people. Such disparities were created and gaps increased across all measures of health in his leadership tenure. Of particular importance is the unexplained 2.5 million decrease in the Amhara population [between 1994 and 2007] under his healthcare leadership. The Amharas were victimized and punished due to their ethnic background.”

TPLF provided millions of dollars for Tedros’s campaign to become the leader of the WHO. Those funds – along with vital support from China – propelled Tedros to victory when, at the Seventieth World Health Assembly in May 2017, the WHO Member States elected him to a five-year term as their Director-General, making him the first person to hold that position without a medical degree. Notably, the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping was the WHO’s longtime goodwill ambassador – a post that enabled her to effectively promote Chinese interests under the penumbra of the UN.

Upon formally taking the reins of the WHO on July 1, 2017, Tedros outlined several priorities upon which he intended to focus. Most notably: (a) universal health coverage (based on models in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Sri Lanka), and (b) the health impacts of climate and environmental change.

On October 18, 2017, Tedros announced that he had chosen Zimbabwe’s former president, the Marxist tyrant Robert Mugabe, to serve as a WHO goodwill ambassador helping to deal with non-communicable diseases in Africa. Tedros justified his selection of Mugabe by lauding Zimbabwe as “a country that places universal health coverage and health promotion at the center of its policies to provide health care to all.” But in fact, Zimbabwe’s health system, like everything else under the broad shadow of Mugabe’s dictatorship, was in total collapse. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that Mugabe’s “utter mismanagement of the economy has devastated health services” in his homeland. HRW’s Kenneth Roth noted that “[w]hen you go to Zimbabwean hospitals, they lack the most basic necessities.” And the prominent Zimbabwean politician Obert Gutu said: “The Zimbabwe health delivery system is in a shambolic state, it is an insult. Mugabe trashed our health delivery system…. he allowed our public hospitals to collapse.” Moreover, it was an open secret that even Mugabe himself did not use his own country’s health system when he needed medical care, traveling instead to Singapore for treatment. As a result of widespread public outrage sparked by the Mugabe nomination, Tedros was forced to withdraw Mugabe’s name from consideration.

During the deadly coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 – which originated in Wuhan, China in the fall of 2019 before infecting millions of people in more than 180 countries across the globe – Tedros was very slow to take any measures to stem the spread of the disease. On December 31, 2019, Taiwanese officials warned the WHO that they had seen evidence that the coronavirus could be spread by means of human-to-human transmission. But because the agency, in deference to Beijing, did not have a normal relationship with Taiwan, the warning was ignored. Fully two weeks later — on January 14, 2020 — the WHO tweeted that: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.” The agency did not correct that falsehood until January 21.

On January 22-23 – by which time the coronavirus had already spread to a number of other countries – a WHO emergency committee debated whether or not to declare COVID-19 a “public health emergency of international concern.” But Tedros elected not to do so, and instead took a trip to Beijing to discuss the matter with Chinese officials. When he finally issued a “public health emergency” declaration on January 30, Tedros took pains to point out that the “WHO doesn’t recommend limiting trade and movement.” That announcement was accompanied by a large dose of propaganda on China’s behalf. “The Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the [coronavirus] outbreak,” said Tedros, adding: “I left in absolutely no doubt about China’s commitment to transparency, and to protecting the world’s people.” “We would have seen many more cases outside China by now,” he emphasized, “and probably deaths — if it were not for the government’s efforts, and the progress they have made to protect their own people and the people of the world.”

In the first week of February, Tedros reiterated that it was unnecessary for nations around the world to implement any restrictions that might “unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade.” He also sang the praises of China yet again: “I was so impressed with my meeting with President Xi and his commitment to take serious measures to prevent the spread of the virus to other countries.”

As February gave way to March, Tedros continued to laud Beijing for what he described as its exemplary response to the virus outbreak. As late as March 9, he fervently denied any suggestion that the virus had become a pandemic. In fact, the WHO did not assign that term to the outbreak until March 11. By repeatedly covering for China’s lies and malfeasance, Tedros and the WHO caused populations across the globe to lose precious time in initiating their battle strategies against the pandemic. By mid-April, more than 150,000 people worldwide had died of COVID-19, and economic ruin had descended upon every corner of the earth. The Wall Street Journal reported on April 5, 2020, that according to a University of Southampton study, “the number of coronavirus cases could have been reduced by 95% had China moved to contain the virus three weeks sooner.” But instead, Tedros and the WHO had been busy heaping praise upon Beijing for having set “a new standard for outbreak response.”

Tedros voiced displeasure with U.S. President Donald Trump’s April 14, 2020 announcement that his administration would withhold all U.S. funding from the WHO while conducting a 60-to-90 day investigation of the Organization’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Said Tedros: “For now, our focus, my focus, is on stopping this virus and saving lives. WHO is getting on with the job…. When we’re divided, the virus exploits the cracks between us.”

During the second weekend in May 2020, the German publication Der Spiegel published a report citing information obtained from Germany’s federal intelligence service, known as the BND, indicating that Chinese President Xi Jinping had pressured Tedros on January 21 to “delay” the issuance of “a global warning” about the coronavirus outbreak. The BND estimated that this delay then resulted in a loss of four to six weeks in the fight against COVID-19. In a statement responding to the allegations, the WHO characterized the claims as “unfounded and untrue” and said: “Dr. Tedros and President Xi did not speak on January  21 and they have never spoken by phone. Such inaccurate reports distract and detract from WHO’s and the world’s efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Tedros received the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award in recognition of his contributions to the field of public health in 2011.

Further Reading:Biography of Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus” (WHO.int); “Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus” (Keywiki.org), Ministerial-leadership.org).


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