News October 30, 2017 at 09:29 am

UN Criticized for Naming President Robert Mugabe ‘Goodwill Ambassador’

Fredrick Ngugi

Fredrick Ngugi | Contributor

Fredrick Ngugi October 30, 2017 at 09:29 am

October 30, 2017 at 09:29 am | News

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Photo credit: Breitbart

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.

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.

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.

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 Ghebreyesus, who has since rescinded Mugabe’s appointment.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.

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