Tigray External Affairs Office
The Government of Tigray sends its heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus on his reelection as the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). His lone candidacy for the world’s top health position and the near-unanimous support he garnered demonstrate the global respect, and admiration he has earned due to his excellent leadership. It also reflects the confidence that member states have in his ability to continue to provide first-rate leadership in his second term.
Dr. Tedros has had a long and distinguished history of serving humanity with distinction. Starting with his tenure as the Regional Health Bureau Head in Tigray and as Ethiopia’s Health and Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Tedros has served his community with competence, integrity and professionalism. As Ethiopia’s Health Minister, his work laid the groundwork for considerable progress on healthcare provision across Ethiopia. He worked tirelessly to secure investment to build Ethiopia’s healthcare infrastructure, leading to expanded access to health care for millions of Ethiopians.
As the Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros has handled the global COVID-19 pandemic with extraordinary grace under pressure, sharing critical information on the pandemic with the international community, being the voice of billions of voiceless people in the developing world, and impressing upon the world’s powerful countries that a global pandemic requires a genuinely global response, earning well-deserved plaudits for his efforts.
While Dr. Tedros has justifiably garnered global admiration and acclaim for his leadership over the past five years, he has also been the target of a vicious smear campaign, solely on account of his Tigrayan identity. The coordinated campaign to vilify Dr. Tedros, cast aspersions on his integrity and commitment to serving all people around the world, and derail his candidacy for a second term has been spearheaded by the Ethiopian regime and its supporters—an extraordinary display of pettiness and a historical first. The Abiy regime, having institutionalized the habit of trafficking in distortions and outright falsehoods, has continued to levy baseless accusations to tarnish Dr. Tedros’s reputation, undermine his legitimate authority and sabotage his candidacy.
Although no leader is beyond reproach or criticism, Dr. Tedros has been the victim vicious personal attacks and a well-organized campaign to delegitimize his leadership for merely highlighting the deleterious consequences of the all-encompassing blockade of Tigray and the near-total collapse of Tigray’s health system for the millions of Tigrayans at risk of death due to starvation and easily preventable diseases. The smear campaign against Dr. Tedros has been designed to intimidate him into silence in the face of a catastrophic humanitarian and medical emergency, as though his ethnicity should prevent him from fighting injustice and advocating for the equality and rights of Tigrayans as human beings.
Although these personal and unhinged attacks on Dr. Tedros are shocking, they’re not surprising. After all, the regimes spearheading this calumny and defamatory attacks against him is also the principal architects of the genocidal war on Tigray that has made Tigray, in the words of Dr. Tedros, hell on earth. That the same regimes would fight tooth and nail to prevent its atrocities from coming to light should, thus, come as no surprise.
Dr. Tedros’s reelection is a testament to the high regard with which the international community holds him. It has also delivered a stinging rebuke to those, who, undaunted by being caught redhanded disseminating lies, have sought to sabotage Dr. Tedros’s candidacy by throwing one baseless allegation after another.
In the face of withering but baseless attacks, Dr. Tedros has maintained his composure, showing his unflinching commitment to serving humanity, regardless of race, creed, religion, or national origin. His empathy, basic decency, and humanity are on display for all to see. Through his actions, Dr. Tedros has proved that he is a world citizen; a Pan-Africanist; a bona fide Ethiopian patriot; and a proud Tigraway, who sees no contradictions in holding these identities. Dr. Tedros’s championing of the causes of justice for all human beings, including Ethiopians and Eritreans, stands in direct contrast to the performative, flag-waving ‘patriotism’ of the two regimes and their foot-soldiers in the diaspora.
Congratulations, again, Dr. Tedros. The people and Government of Tigray are confident that you will continue to discharge your global responsibilities with the utmost integrity, professionalism, and competence that the world has come to expect from you.