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Egg on Mugabe face as WHO withdraws accolade

By Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has been left with egg on face after the UN responded to local and international outrage over its decision to honour the Zimbabwean dictator with the WHO Goodwill African Ambassadorial role.

The Zimbabwean leader earned the accolade in Uruguay on Wednesday.

During the occasion, he was honoured with the WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Africa role.

His backers went overboard in celebrating the Zimbabwean leader’s affirmation.

But back home and abroad, the decision was met with outrage with the country’s opposition saying the nonagenarian leader did not deserve the accolade as he has run down the country’s health system while he frequented foreign hospitals for his own treatment.

The Canadian Prime Minister described it as an April Fool’s joke.

But in a move that is sure to deflate the 93-year-old leader’s ego, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Sunday that the decision has been rescinded.

“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,” said the WHO chief in a statement.

“I have listened carefully to all who have expressed their concerns, and heard the different issues that they have raised. I have also consulted with the Government of Zimbabwe and we have concluded that this decision is in the best interests of the World Health Organization.

“It is my aim to build a worldwide movement for global health. This movement must work for everyone and include everyone.

“For me, what is important is to build political leadership and create unity around bringing health to all, based on WHO’s core values.”

He added: “I remain firmly committed to working with all countries and their leaders to ensure that every one has access to the health care they need.

“We must build bridges that bring us together and help us move forward in our quest to achieve universal health coverage.

“I thank everyone who has voiced their concerns and shared their thoughts. I depend on constructive debate to help and inform the work I have been elected to do.”

Gary Murambiwa
the authorGary Murambiwa