African leaders are coming out in defence of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and its Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus after US President Donald Trump attacked the organisation for being “China-centric” and “mishandling” the COVID-19 outbreak. Trump was quoted as saying: ‘We’re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO.”
But when the US leader was asked if that was a good idea considering the world is in the midst of a pandemic, he said he was only considering a possible suspension.
The Premium Times reported that the Chairperson of the African Union (AU), Moussa Faki Mahamat tweeted that he is “surprised to learn of a campaign by the US govt against WHO ‘s global leadership.
“The @_AfricanUnion fully supports @WHO and @DrTedros. The focus should remain on collectively fighting #Covid19 as a united global community. The time for accountability will come,” Mahamat wrote.
“Our global priority is to save lives,” Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde replied on Twitter. “@WHO under @DrTedros effective leadership, are delivering on their mandate at a time we need them most. Let’s give them the space. @covid19 is killing many. We must support & protect the most vulnerable. Now is not the time for blame game.”
President of Namibia Hage G. Geingob responded to Mahamat’s tweet with this message: “I agree with you, my brother @WHO, under the stewardship of @DrTedros, has shown itself to be a true flag-bearer of multilaterarism when global solidarity has become critical. Let’s hold hands in this crucial moment and focus on what matters, saving lives.”
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame also weighed in, retweeting Mahamat’s statement and adding: ” Totally Agree ,and asking this; Is it Dr.Tedros, WHO, China … under attack or all of them together? Let’s focus on the fight against this pandemic, whoever sh’d be held acc’ntable will come later and done properly. Save us too much politics Africa does not need it. Who does?”
President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa responded: “The most potent weapon against #COVID19 and its devastating health, social & economic impact is international cooperation & solidarity, which is why the exceptional leadership displayed daily by @WHO & @DrTedros during an unprecedented global public health crisis is incalculable.”
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari tweeted: “The Government of Nigeria fully supports @WHO and its Director General @DrTedros . We are grateful for the leadership and guidance the WHO has provided as we respond to this pandemic. With #COVID19 , we are in an existential battle, requiring global solidarity.”