(and maybe with good reason)
By Frank Laughter -- November, 2002

Kihura Nkuba is Ugandan and was a communications mogul: the Rupert Murdock of Central Africa. Until recently he owned and operated radio stations with audiences in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zaire, the Congo, Zambia, Angola, Ethiopia, Chad, the Sudan, and more.

Kihura claimed an audience of over 50,000,000. For comparison, Rush Limbaugh claims 20,000,000; The O'Reilly Factor, 5,000,000 viewers. In fact, Kihura's claimed audience was almost as large as ABC-CBS-NBC's combined nightly news audience. [Central Africa has no reliable rating system so 50,000,000 may be the population of Kihura's coverage area. For discussion purposes, it doesn't matter: he aired a news story and it swept around the world.]

This week, (Nov. 15, 2002) C-SPAN covered a conference on Vaccine Safety sponsored by the National Vaccination Information Center. The program featured speaker-experts discussing the efficacy of vaccinations in humans. Diseases ranged from measles and polio to AIDS-HIV.

Kihura was one of the guest speakers at the conference and he told a story involving Central Africa, the UN, and the United States. He explained how the National Institute of Health (NIH)-Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) were part of the story.

Kihura's story should make every American's blood boil.

He described the U.S. role in delivering vaccinations to the children of Central Africa. For this purpose, it makes no difference whether he has his facts straight or not. He made "discoveries," passed his "knowledge" on to his audience, and because Congress (instead of the President) micro-manages the State Department, the U.S. was unable to mitigate or explain the information Kihura passed along.


There are more WHO workers in Africa than on any other continent. In fact, workers for the WHO are in almost every village of Central Africa. It's likely that, on more than one occasion, residents of every village and town have come in contact with WHO and the people rely on the organization for their primary health care.

Most WHO employees are natives of the countries in which they work. UN organizations enter a country by making arrangements with government officials -- i.e., Ministers of Health -- and the government officials hire native employees with funds provided by the UN.

The people in Central Africa are well aware that WHO gets most of its funding from the U.S. even though the money is funneled through the UN. Also, its routine for the NIH/CDC to send experts to help with complicated matters involving nutrition, health, and disease prevention, i.e., vaccinations for measles, whooping cough, and polio and research-treatment for HIV.

However, direct U.S. support is always under the auspices and control of the UN. The U.S. must follow the UN model: the U.S. sends experts and specialist, but any additional money is simply added to the amounts already supplied by the UN. In Africa, funds for nutrition and health care are distributed from the UN through each country's Minister of Health.

Projects are initiated under the auspices of WHO but the U.S. comes into the picture and does some heavy lifting with extra cash, expert research, program expansion, etc. However, the U.S. has no say in policy and no influence on who gets credit for good -- or the blame for disaster.

In the end, the U.S. becomes a major player with no authority or leverage. In fact, the UN managers of the various programs strongly resent U.S. presence. Their mantra: send money, but stay at home.

It's clearly a formula for disaster, and that's exactly what happened in Kihura's story. Similar things are happening every day in Central and Eastern Asia, and throughout the island nations of the Pacific.


As mentioned, Kihura's radio stations reached a lot of people in Central Africa. About the only other sources of information are government controlled TV-radio outlets and contact with workers from the NGO's. (NGO's are "non-government organization's" such as UNICEF, WHO, and the Red Cross.)

Kihura is well educated; smart; has a large extended family; and was very successful with his communications empire. He's an author with an inquisitive mind.

At some point about 1997 he became curious about the vaccines used in Central Africa and looked into the label for the Sabin oral polio vaccine being administered to children in Uganda. He has no biology or medical training, so he was surprised to see that the vaccine contained "live" polio virus.

After further research he learned that:

  • In 1997 the U.S. had stopped using the Sabin live vaccine here.
  • The French company that manufactured the vaccine administered by WHO said that the vaccine should NOT be given to anyone with HIV. In fact, the risk was so great it should not be administered to family members or intimate contacts of anyone with HIV.
  • The Sabin live oral vaccine could spread polio to those not already vaccinated if contact were made within the first week or so after the vaccine had been administered. The virus could spread through saliva, nasal mucous, or changing of a diaper.
  • For years, WHO had targeted children. Adults could wait because polio risks diminish with age.

Kihura was well aware of social circumstances in Central Africa and the way people conducted their daily lives. Family members, friends, and neighbors pitched in to help care for babies and toddlers as mothers and fathers labored to eke out meager livings. Children vaccinated with live oral polio vaccine had close contact with several unvaccinated adults in a short period of time.

Kihura brought the newly discovered information to the attention of Uganda's Minister of Health and was shocked when the Minister arrogantly told him to mind his own business: leave such matters to the Minister's office.

He approached WHO. They told him that Ministers of Health set policy within their countries. It required little research for him to learn that the same policies, practices, and attitudes applied throughout Central Africa. ... The UN ran the show for the whole continent with American money and a passive policy from the U.S. The UN/WHO funded the programs but local officials made the rules.

[Perhaps he thought about taking the matter to a higher authority but in the end realized that the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, is also from Uganda.]

For whatever reason, the buck-passing and stone-walling made it a big news story, so Kihura put it on the air. ... to millions.

He didn't know it at the time, but Kihura had initiated a world-wide debate and outrage.

Over time with follow-up stories, Kihura delved more deeply into the Sabin live vaccine and found that, indeed (at least his conclusion), people WERE getting polio from contact with vaccinated children but the most startling thing was that thousands were dying from the Sabin live polio vaccine administered to HIV positive children.

He learned that the non-live vaccine used in the U.S. carried no such risk.

Then came the most chilling fact: COST was the factor behind the use of the Sabin live vaccine in Africa (but not in the U.S.). It cost twice as much for the non-live vaccine plus there was an extensive learning curve. The live oral vaccine was simple to administer but nurses and paramedics needed training to inject the non-live vaccine. [The UN -- to stretch money -- still has not changed to non-live vaccine.]

Of course, he reported his new findings on the news and millions of people began to refuse to allow NGO's to administer the vaccine to their children. He reported that the U.S. had stopped giving the vaccine to Americans in 1997 because of risk to people with HIV but the live vaccine was still being given to children in Africa.

"Naturally," he said to his listeners, "the U.S. was funding the program, so why couldn't the U.S. furnish non-live vaccine." By then WHO, UNICEF, the Red Cross, and the UN, had dropped off the radar screen. The debate was raging on the airways and the only bad guy was the United States.

As more parents refused to permit vaccinations for their children, the Ministers of Health in Uganda and other countries began to FORCE the issue. The Ministers used police to accompany NGO workers through villages and towns and forcibly administer the vaccine. Naturally, it appeared that the U.S. was sponsoring this project as well.

Polio had never been a serious problem in Africa; it was mostly an American-European disease but WHO was determined to wipe polio off the earth as it had done with smallpox. However, Kihura reported that there were more cases in Africa AFTER vaccinations began than before because, in his opinion, it was being spread from vaccinated children to unvaccinated adults. [Its doubtful that Kihura had any scientific evidence to back up his assertion, but that doesn't matter. He reported it anyway.]

Kihura continuously posed a provocative question to his listeners: Why was the U.S. insisting, even FORCING, Africans to take the live polio vaccine when African children really needed protection from AIDS? He emphasized the question with a report that he had lost eight members of his own family from polio, AIDS, and polio vaccine-HIV drugs.

By the time George Bush took office in January, 2001, the international professional anti-American demonstrator's club was in full swing. ... They were in streets in South Africa, Cairo, Karachi, London, Berlin, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Washington, D.C. -- "Americans are child murderers." "Stop murdering African children." "Stop the genocide." "Stop HIV." "Send money." "Send more money."

Americans said: "Who the hell ARE these people?"

As the debate raged, attempts were made on Kihura's life by mysterious white men in pickup trucks (at one point they forced his car from the road into a ditch while going over 100 mph) and his wife, who is white, wondered who they might be. They certainly were not Ugandans. ... Another news item, and the conclusion reached by the natives: They MUST be Americans because they're white [that's the perception: Americans are all white!].

One by one, his radio stations have been shut down because advertisers have been scared off by government agents and more white men in pickup trucks. Now, his stations are nearly gone and millions of Africans are telling their friends and neighbors -- such as Islamist Muslims -- about American genocidal programs aimed at African children.

And the American press, too busy campaigning for their favorite politicians, have no time to look into such matters. They wring hands and wonder why the world hates the United States.

To repeat: It doesn't matter one whit (for this discussion) whether there are serious contra-indications between oral polio vaccine and HIV. It doesn't matter, for this argument, whether one can get polio from a vaccinated child or not. It makes no difference whether Kihura is wrong and the Ministers of Health are right.

Perception is all that matters.


Now, tens of millions of Central Africans and Muslims around the world BELIEVE that the U.S. is behind a systematic, genocidal, slaughter of African children. ... THAT matters. Kihura now agrees that his ire may have been misdirected but he can't put toothpaste back in the tube.

However, a recent cursory look at his speeches and writings indicate that he doesn't fully understand the ramifications of what he has done. After all, his intentions were/are simple: save the children of Africa.

And whose fault is it?
Answer: The U.S. Congress, for allowing organizations like the UN, UNICEF, WHO, et al, to use OUR money and THEIR policies. The State Department: for failing to monitor how our money is used and failing to rebut false and erroneous statements.

Has anyone ever tried to correct the situation?
Answer: One. Jesse Helms -- during the Clinton years, and continuing after Bush took office -- tried to amend the law to give the NIH/CDC better control over funds handed to the UN but he was demonized, vilified, and otherwise condemned by Bill Clinton, socialist/liberals in the Senate, the State Department, and the press.

Socialist, like Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Paul Wellstone, Tom Daschle, Pat Leahy, Charles Schumer, et al, accused Helms of racism.

The socialist alternative: Support the UN: show that we are good members of the international community. ... Send more money.

Voters yawned.

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