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WHO chief suffers same fate of family cat kicked by Big Brother

by kenya-tribune
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By JENERALI ULIMWENGU
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Every emergency affords us the opportunity to see ourselves and those around us in stark colours. The tenacious fighter will show his/her resolve to confront whatever odds that may be facing his community.

The storyteller sees a chance to stub out an immediate bestseller. The artiste sees in the whole drama a song that will move you to tears. The natural coward will cut and run. The profiteer will see an opportunity to make a quick buck. And so on.

The current pandemic is no different. Within these few months, we have had the good (maybe) luck of studying ourselves and those who are in charge of our lives, some of who I have described in past columns and some of whom I still have something to say, and may yet have more to say before this thing plays out.

We have seen the truly gallant amongst us, the women and men who have been on the front-line, doctors, nurses and service providers often ill-equipped and poorly protected, exposing themselves to near-certain death to save lives.

We have observed some who have literally gone AWOL, abandoning sensitive posts crucial in the fight against the coronavirus. I talked about those who see the virus as a hurdle on the road to realising their political ambitions. The profiteers I have already dealt with in the past.

But, what about those who deserve our total solidarity, not because they deserve our support like all the others above, but, especially because they are find themselves between the hammer and the anvil, and sometimes they find themselves expected to please both, an impossibility.

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I am thinking of the director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has the misfortune of hailing from one of those s***-h*** countries US President Donald Trump is so fond of.

The coronavirus is providing the stormy weather in which the poor Ethiopian is being pounded.

Maybe Tedros did not carry out due diligence about what China was up to, with all the secrecy and opacity surrounding the Middle Kingdom. But, in all fairness, the WHO could have deployed undercover agents to get into that country and ferret out information that Chinese President Xi Jinping did not want out into the open world?

Whose agents had greater access, WHO’s doctors and researchers or Trump’s cloak-and-dagger scientific spooks in cahoots with the CIA.

And it is strange when we hear Trump bashing Tedros for having said something suggesting he believed Beijing’s word on the state of affairs with the virus, when Trump, much more than Tedros, who, in so many statements, assured his people that they could rely on Xi’s word.

But to get the real measure of the man in the Oval Office, one has just to consider what he has done. Primum non nocere, is the Latin maxim everyone who wants to become a medic has to observe. First, do no harm.
Claiming he has discovered that the WHO is sick, Trump has decided to deliver a sledgehammer blow to the head.
In his struggle with an intractable disease which does not obey his deadlines, and knows so little, Trump, in his preferred Superman mode, wants to open US like tomorrow, and claims he has the powers to do so even if mayors and governors of the big cities and states tell him “Don’t even think about it”, and that is frustrating him.

He must be wishing he was the leader of some African country where idiocy can be taken for Solomonic wisdom, but where he is sitting he has to deal with immovable principles guarded over by women and men of, largely, commendable integrity.
WHO depends on American funding (22 per cent) and Trump’s withdrawal of funding has been equated with ‘international vandalism’ in some quarters, and there is clearly a sign of blackmail, whose purpose could be simply to make the narcissist in Washington feel good and maybe salvage a presidency that will, come November, have been badly savaged by this virus.
In all this, Gebreyessus (Amharic for Servant-of-Jesus) may look like the family cat that gets a kick in the ribs from elder brother who is frustrated because he is losing an argument with his siblings. I hope the rest of the world stands with the Servant-of-Jesus against this evil.

Jenerali Ulimwengu is chairman of the board of the Raia Mwema newspaper and an advocate of the High Court in Dar es Salaam. E-mail: [email protected]

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