The announcement by the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, that the United States would cut off its funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) over its alleged mismanagement of the current coronavirus pandemic did not take many people by surprise, As a flip through the pages of history look reveals patterns that may suggest that the United States of America, and indeed the Western countries, are uneasy with having African leaders head key global agencies.
In 1984, the United States of America pulled out from the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), followed by the United Kingdom in 1985, over claims of administrative and budgetary lapses by the organization. This happened during the tenure of Mr. Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow, a Senegalese. M’Bow served in France and North Africa during the Second World War. He joined UNESCO in 1953, and was subsequently appointed as Director General of the organization in 1974, making him the first black African to head any United Nations support agency.
Also Ngozi Okonjo-Iwuala, a world renowned financial expert, who worked in the World Bank for several years and rose to the position of Managing Director, contested for the President of the organization, but lost out in favour of a South Korean and American national who studied public health. Could there be an unwritten law that stipulates that the United State of America shall produce the president of the world Bank and other European states will produce the president of the Industrial Monetary Fund.
Now it appears history is repeating itself again. The Trump led white house recently accused the World Health Organisation led by Mr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreeyesus an Ethiopian, of incompetence in tackling the outbreak of the pandemic, and as a result threatened to withdraw support to the organization. This decision no doubt will set the stage for other western European countries to follow suit, ultimately crippling the organization and forcing Mr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreeyesus, the Director General, to resign, as did Mr. Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow in 1987, when he resigned from UNESCO following the withdrawal of support to the agency by the United States and some countries of Western Europe.
But who is to blame, is it a government that has failed to curtail the spread of the nouvelle virus in its home state, or an African leader who have done his best to discharge his duties to the best of his ability. That question will be left to the jury of our consciences to answer.
If the present coronavirus outbreak which makes no distinction between the color of the skin, white or black, man or woman, is not enough to teach us a simple lesson that all humanity is one, then nothing will ever do it.
DR. DONS EZE