AFRICAN LEADERS RALLY BEHIND WHO DIRECTOR-GENERAL AFTER TRUMP CRITICISM

Rwanda’s Paul Kagame said the WHO chief “has the full confidence and support of Africa,” while AU Commission head Moussa Faki urged leaders to focus on fighting COVID-19 and said the time for accountability would come later.

Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, on his part twitted that “surprised to learn of a campaign by the U.S. government against WHO’s global leadership.”

He said the African Union fully supports the WHO and its director-general. “The focus should remain on collectively fighting COVID-19 as a united global community. The time for accountability will come.”

African Union ‘extends its unwavering support to the WHO and its director general’, chairman and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said.



Trump had on Tuesday accused the WHO of being too focused on China and of issuing bad advice on the COVID-19 pandemic.


African leaders including Ethiopian President Sahlework Zewdie, the president of Rwanda, South Africa, Nigeria and Namibia, along with the head of the African Union Commission, rallied to the defense of the WHO on Wednesday.


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who chairs the African Union (AU), said in a statement late on Wednesday that WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had shown “exceptional leadership ... from the very earliest stages of this unprecedented global health crisis.”


“The AU calls upon the international community to join hands to support the efforts of the DG and the entire WHO family as they lead global efforts to fight this pandemic,” Ramaphosa added.

“If there was a time for global unity, solidarity and cooperation, this is that time.”


Posting on Twitter, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame said the WHO chief “has the full confidence and support of Africa,” while AU Commission head Moussa Faki urged leaders to focus on fighting COVID-19 and said the time for accountability would come later.


Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, on his part twitted that “surprised to learn of a campaign by the U.S. government against WHO’s global leadership.”


He said the African Union fully supports the WHO and its director-general. “The focus should remain on collectively fighting COVID-19 as a united global community. The time for accountability will come.”


‘With Covid-19, we are in an existential battle, requiring global solidarity,’ Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said


Namibian President Hage Geingob added his support for the WHO and Dr. Tedros. “Global solidarity has become critical,” he said on Twitter.


“Let’s hold hands in this crucial moment and focus on what matters, saving lives.”


Further more, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres joined the chorus of support for the WHO, calling it “absolutely critical” to the war against the coronavirus. He said the WHO’s response can be debated after the pandemic is over. “Now is not that time. Now is the time for unity.”


Tedros, a former foreign minister of Ethiopia, has rejected Trump’s suggestion that the WHO has been “China-centric” in its efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.


“We are close to every nation, we are colour-blind,” he said on Wednesday, adding the WHO had “kept the world informed about the latest data, information and evidence.”


China has said Tedros had played an important role in promoting international cooperation to combat the pandemic, which has infected more than 1.47 million people and killed more than 87,000, according to the latest Reuters tally.


Africa accounts for a fraction of global cases of the disease, but its countries are feeling the impact with economies expected to contract, putting about 20 million jobs at risk.


“The window for containing the virus at the subnational and national level is closing in many countries,” Tedros told diplomats in Geneva on Thursday. “The infection numbers in Africa are relatively small now, but they are growing fast.”



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