Tedros Adhanom, a politburo member of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) that has been ruling Ethiopia for the last 25 years is in the inner circle of the regime well known for its systematic patterns of political repression and egregious human rights violations against Ethiopian citizens. The abysmal human rights record of the Ethiopian regime is very well documented by all the major international rights groups (Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Freedom House) as well as by the U.S. State Department in its annual human rights report.
In 2008, under his watch at the Federal Ministry of Health (2005-2012) there was a major cholera outbreak in Ethiopia’s Oromia Region. As a result of the deliberate inaction of Dr. Adhanom, the preventable and treatable outbreak tragically claimed many lives. Dr. Adhanom’s tenure as head of the Federal Ministry of Health was fraught with mismanagement and gross incompetence particularly as it relates to the monies (USD 1,306,035,989) granted from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM).
The audit by the Office of the Inspector General into the USD 1,306,035,989 allocated to Ethiopia found: 1) misappropriation of funds and use of donor funds for unsound and politically motivated programs, 2) substandard quality of constructed health facilities and 3) ineligible expenditures. It was the recommendation of the OIG that the Ethiopian government should refund USD 7,026,929 to the Global Fund. To this day, no action has been taken by the Ethiopian government to refund the money.
The candidate for Director General of a prestigious organization such as the WHO should not only be a person of high personal achievement but should also embody the highest adherence to internationally recognized human rights standards. Dr. Adhanom’s record as one of the leaders of the ruling party in Ethiopia and specifically his record as Minister of Health does not meet the exceedingly high standards required for a Director General of the WHO.