‘I don’t give a damn’ – WHO boss speaks out over racial abuse and death threats

Kent Mensah Apr 9, 2020 at 08:00am

April 09, 2020 at 08:00 am | News

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Kent Mensah

April 09, 2020 at 08:00 am | News

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), attends a press conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, 18 May 2018. The WHO Director-General answered questions ahead of the World Health Assembly and following the meeting of an International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. EPA-EFE/VALENTIN FLAURAUD

The Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is under fire as world leaders struggle to fight the deadly coronavirus pandemic. His leadership has been questioned by U.S president Donald Trump, who has threatened to withhold funding to the UN agency.

As pressure mounts on the WHO boss to resign for allegedly covering up for China, the Ethiopian in a fiery address on Wednesday revealed that he has come under racial abuses coupled with death threats. Ghebreyesus said already he is being referred to as “black or negro.”

“I can tell you personal attacks that have been going on for more than two, three months. Abuses, or racist comments, giving me names, black or Negro. I’m proud of being black, proud of being Negro … I don’t care to be honest … even death threats. I don’t give a damn,” the WHO boss told the media.

However, he served notice to his detractors that he is unfazed, but focused on finding solution to the pandemic.

“I don’t give a damn,” Ghebreyesus stressed, adding he decided to break his silence because the whole black community has been targeted. “When it’s personal, even death threats, I didn’t care. When as community, people start to insult us, that’s enough.”

Ghebreyesus, a former health minister of Ethiopia, has warned leaders to stop politicizing the pandemic, urging them to rather invest their efforts into allaying the fears of the vulnerable.

“At the end of the day, the people belong to all political parties. The focus of all political parties should be to save their people, please do not politicize this virus. If you want to be exploited and if you want to have many more body bags, then you do it. If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it,” he said.

He added: “No need to use COVID to score political points. No need. You have many other ways to prove yourselves.”

Meanwhile, African leaders and the African Union have thrown their weight behind their embattled compatriot, parrying claims that Ghebreyesus is in bed with China.

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