US president Donald Trump continued his funding threats to the World Health Organization, WHO; with a May 18 letter that threatened outright withdrawal of the US from the organization.
The four-paged letter addressed to the WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the body had 30-days to undertake needed reforms. “I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization,” Trump threatened.
But at the heart of the letter was an accusation that WHO had virtually been captured by China, and that their missteps and failure to hold Beijing accountable had led to the escalation of the coronavirus spread.
A portion of the letter also accused WHO of overlooking racist treatment of Africans in parts of China. It queried why the WHO has all along remained mute on the issue.
“On April 11, 2020, several African Ambassadors wrote to the Chinese Foreign Ministry about the discriminatory treatment of Africans related to the pandemic in Guangzhou and other cities in China.
“You were aware that Chinese authorities were carrying out a campaign of forced quarantines, evictions, and refusal of services against the nationals of these countries. You have not commented on China’s racially discriminatory actions.
“You have, however, baselessly labelled as racist Taiwan’s well-founded complaints about your mishandling of this pandemic,” the relevant paragraph read.
A number of African leaders in April came to the defence of Tedros when Trump launched an attack against the organization relative to funding cuts.
“The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation,” Trump posted in a April 7 tweet.
The African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, posted support for the WHO and Tedros in a tweet of April 8. That tweet set off a reaction from a number of Africa leaders. Among others Paul Kagame, Hage Geingob and current AU chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa all joined in.