Africans, especially members of the civil society, have criticized the United Nations’ decision to name Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe a “Goodwill Ambassador” to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The appointment, which was announced late last week by the Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has elicited a serious backlash from human rights activists, with some even calling for the suspension of the organization’s funding.
Of course Robert Mugabe has been appointed a WHO goodwill ambassador because this is 2017 and NOTHING MAKES SENSE ANYMORE.
— Meg (@MRipley13) October 21, 2017
— Jack Montgomery ن (@JackBMontgomery) October 21, 2017
Many can’t understand what informed the decision by the Ethiopian Director-General, who is the first African to head the WHO, to appoint the 93-year-old President as an Ambassador.
If you ever needed more confirmation the world has gone mad Robert Mugabe has been made a ‘Goodwill Ambassador’.#lunaticshavetheasylum
— Truth will find YOU (@smartnotstupid) October 21, 2017
World Health Organization names Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as its goodwill ambassador, leaving people scratching their heads
— Faith M. Karimi (@faithcnn) October 21, 2017
The veteran leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, has often been accused of authoritarianism, corruption and nepotism.
He is also being blamed for running down his country’s economy by allowing his friends and family members to continue looting the public coffers. The health system in the country is almost on its deathbed.
A Ruler who has destroyed the Healthcare in his country, seeks treatment for himself and his family in Singapore is named @WHO GOODWILL Ambassador! A mockery to the suffering people of Zimbabwe who can’t get panadol and basic healthcare ???
— African (@ali_naka) October 21, 2017
The backlash seems to have caught the attention of Mr. Ghebreyesus, who has since rescinded Mugabe’s appointment.
“Over the last few days, I have reflected on my appointment of H.E. President Robert Mugabe as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for NCDs in Africa. As a result, I have decided to rescind the appointment,” Ghebreyesus said in a statement.
“I have listened carefully to all who have expressed their concerns, and heard the different issues that they have raised.”
As a Goodwill Ambassador, Mugabe would have been expected to champion WHO’s programs in Africa and abroad.