Unprecedented partisanship of the World Health Organization’s top man threatens institutional credibility
Dr Tedros, Director General of the World Health Organization, recently accused the international community of being racist for paying more attention to Ukraine instead of Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region. Breaking with UN tradition, his social media footprint has indeed been partisan. The top man at WHO has been busy rooting for his former comrades in arms, The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
When you pay close attention to his Twitter activity, despite his protestations, the Tigray region of Ethiopia dominates his life on twitter. He sometimes tweets per day. He has tweeted and re-tweeted or liked tweets mentioning Tigray 208 times over the past 23 months
But what about Yemen, Syria, and other war-torn areas of the world you ask? Surely, the man who claims to be the conscience of the world would tweet incessantly about these humanitarian crises that had been raging for years. Not really, they are occasionally invoked only to accompany Ukraine and mostly Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.
Unsurprisingly, northern Ethiopia is a significant fixture in his twitter life, accounting for 5-10% of his weekly Twitter activity. But surely, he will also tweet about Ethiopia’s Amhara and Afar regions being decimated by TPLF. After all, it is not as if he is a raging ethnic nationalist, right? Well, you are in for a big surprise.
His subdued activism intensified after TPLF was pushing out of most of the Amhara and Afar regions. He played the role of chief propagandist for the militant group on the world stage. This gave his TPLF colleagues a much-needed cover, as they commit unspeakable atrocities in the Afar and Amara regions & all the while holding the people of Tigray hostage.
What about the destruction of over a thousand health facilities and in the Amhara and Afar regions? Now this one, certainly; at least the World Health Organization’s Surveillance System for Attacks on Health Care (SSA) would capture these incidents, right? Sadly, No.
To this day the SSA puts the number of attacks on health care related facilities in Ethiopia at zero while attacks on Ukrainian health facilities are recorded meticulously. How anti racist of Dr. Tedros Adhanom not to correct this gross inequality? Surely, as the head of WHO he can rectify this. He will not, because most of the deliberate and vindictive destruction of health facilities in Ethiopia was carried out by the TPLF, an authoritarian brutal regime, which he once led.
We also zoomed in and looked at this twitter activity in the week of TPLF’s most recent re-invasion of the Amhara region. Dr. Tedros, who has been tweeting and re-tweeting about Tigray feverishly the past ten months, went radio silent re Tigray in the days leading up to August 24, 2022. In all between August 20 and 24, he tweeted only once. One August 24, TPLF launched its re-invasion of the Amhara region, albeit limply.
It was as if he knew what his TPLF colleagues were up to of was part of the planning and decision making to launch the attack. Kind of reminiscent of his self-isolation due to covid-19 around November 2, 2020, days before TPLF’s surprise insurrection and attack on Ethiopia northern Command.
In peak irony, the man who accused the ‘International Community’ of paying more attention to Ukraine, tweeted, and re-tweeted and liked tweets about the ethnic enclave where he hails from more times than Ukraine, Syria, and Yemen combined. So much for inclusivity and integrity. Yet, the UN system, of which Ethiopia is the original African state member of continues to turn a blind eye.