Robert Mugabe stripped of 'goodwill ambassador' post

24 October, 2017, 00:57 | Author: Gary Shelton
  • The 93-year-old president of Zimbabwe- who oversaw plummeting life expectancy in his own country- will supposedly co-ordinate the United Nations organisation's battle against heart disease cancer and diabetes across Africa

"I have listened carefully to all who have expressed their concerns and heard the different issues that they have raised", Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO's director general, said in a statement. "This movement must work for everyone and include everyone", he said. "I depend on constructive debate to help and inform the work I have been elected to do". "Robert Mugabe fails in every way to represent the values World Health Organization should stand for".

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who made the appointment at a high-level meeting on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Uruguay on Wednesday, said in a statement that he had listened to those expressing concerns.

Britain called the decision "surprising and disappointing, particularly in light of the current U.S. and European Union sanctions against him".

The appointment is "laughable", said Obert Gutu, the spokesman for MDC, the main opposition party in Zimbabwe.

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And then there is the fact that Mugabe travels out of the country for his medical treatment - not exactly a ringing endorsement for the country's health system, is it?

Why were people so angry about Mugabe's role at WHO?

"It's hard to see how this aligns with the values the World Health Organization purports to hold".

Two dozen organisations - including the World Heart Federation and Cancer Research UK - released a statement criticising the appointment, saying health officials were "shocked and deeply concerned", and citing Mugabe's "long track record of human rights violations".

He is also facing US sanctions over his government's frequent human rights abuses.

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Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Government of Canada. "The notion that the United Nations should now spin this country as a great supporter of health is, frankly, sickening".

Supporters and critics of the former Ethiopian health minister, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, aka Dr. Tedros, the first African to hold the WHO post, had taken to social media to express divergent interpretations.

It is also believed that under Mugabe's authoritarian rule, Zimbabwe's health care system suffered badly, with hospitals frequently lacking essential supplies and nurses and doctors regularly left without pay.

"Over the last few days, I have reflected on my appointment of President Robert Mugabe as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for NCDs in Africa".

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"We cannot take these institutions seriously", said Obert Gutu, spokesman for the main opposition the Movement for Democratic Change. Critics have accused the Zimbabwean President of running his country's healthcare system into the ground while he regularly flies overseas for his own medical treatment.

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