EDITORIAL COMMENT: Who is fooling WHO?

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

THE West has once again betrayed its obsession with President Mugabe after it dragooned the World Health Organisation (WHO) into rescinding its decision to appoint the Zimbabwean leader as goodwill ambassador in the fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Africa.

The United Nations agency last week appointed President Mugabe goodwill ambassador during the WHO global conference on NCDs in Montevideo, Uruguay.

However, WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, an Ethiopian and first African to lead the agency, rescinded his decision on Sunday, buckling under sustained pressure from Western countries, the main funders of the UN agencies.

Reacting to the news, former colonial master Britain issued a statement expressing her “surprise” that the appointment was done given the European Union and United States sanctions against President Mugabe.

The statement by Britain exposed its evil machinations which place perceived enemies of the EU, US and itself at par with enemies of the UN and its agencies.

Firstly, WHO is an agency of the UN whose membership is drawn from countries across the world and not an extension of the EU and US, and Britain but what is really surprising is how Zimbabwe’s former coloniser enjoys the luxury of feigning “surprise” in what should be a clear cut matter.

But more crucially, the statement confirms what has been protested by many leaders including President Mugabe himself on how powerful Western countries have sought to abuse their might to dictate how the UN and its agencies should conduct its business.

Ready examples can also be cited on how the permanent members of the UN Security Council have abused their veto powers to push their agenda particularly the US which has used hers to defend Israel from censure for committing atrocities in Palestine.

The invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the US, Britain and their allies was opposed by the UN but these countries went on to depose Saddam Hussein on the pretext that he possessed weapons of mass destruction.

After failing to find the weapons, the powerful countries arm twisted the UN and its agencies using their financial might to enter Iraq and clean after their mess.

Curiously, the United States-based organisation, Human Rights Watch (HRW), accused of having “consistently paralleled US government positions and policies”, was among the vociferous protesters against President Mugabe’s appointment.

The organisation has been criticised and accused of hypocrisy for burying its head in the sand when the US violates the UN Charter with impunity.

In their worst act of naked hypocrisy, in 2012, HRW opposed Venezuela’s membership to the UN Human Rights Council arguing that “Venezuela currently falls short of acceptable standards” of promoting and protecting human rights.

It can be argued therefore that the HRW is an extension of the US government created to pursue and promote that country’s interests.

Allegations made by both Britain and HRW on Zimbabwe’s health sector are just a convenient excuse or rather a smoke screen to try and disguise a sinister agenda against Zimbabwe that traces its roots to the days of the land reform programme.

The illegal sanctions imposed by the West on Zimbabwe have affected the country in all sectors including health so it would be frivolous to respond to their criticism on the challenges they engineered.

What is clear is that Britain is still angry at President Mugabe for championing the land reform programme that sought equitable redistribution of land and correcting the colonial injustices which had allowed a few whites to hold on to vast tracts of land at the expense of landless blacks.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki confirmed this in July when he said the British policy of regime change in Zimbabwe is not for the benefit of the local majority, but to serve the interests of the former colonial masters’ kith and kin.

“So you are not surprised when the UK continues to pay this particular attention to Zimbabwe. Their paying attention to Zimbabwe is not because they are interested in the future of Zimbabwe, but because they are interested in the welfare of their kith and kin. That’s what drove the British policy in Zimbabwe,” he said during a talk show with a South African radio station.

In view of the above, it can be said that the move to rescind the appointment of President Mugabe as WHO goodwill ambassador in the fight of NCDs is neither an embarrassment for the Head of State nor Zimbabwe but a confirmation of the bully tendencies by Western countries who use their might to twist the hand of multinational organisations in pursuit of their selfish interests.

Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Walter Mzembi was right on the money when, in reaction to the move by WHO, he called for an urgent reform of the UN and its agencies.

Dr Mzembi said President Mugabe remained committed to the fight against NCDs despite the machinations of the West which has maintained a ruinous sanctions regime on Zimbabwe for nearly two decades.

But as president Mugabe has always maintained, no amount of bullying or scare tactics will cow Zimbabwe and the Government from serving its sovereign interests in pursuit of upholding its independence and self determination.

Article Source: The Chronicle