Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

Tedros Ghebreyesus, the first African director general for the World Health Organization (WHO), from Ethiopia, appointed Zimbabwe’s President Robert Gabriel Mugabe the organization’s goodwill ambassador, which has caused fuming amongst different people.

The director appointed Mugabe during a conference in Uruguay early this week with concern that Zimbabwe is a country that places universal health coverage and health promotions at the center of its policies.

He therefore sighted that Mugabe, the President, would use the opportunity and the role to influence his peers in the regions about the health issues.

Mugabe was also selected to help tackle non-communicable diseases, such as heart attacks, strokes and asthma across Africa.

However, the director’s decision has been rubbished by many, who have termed it with all sorts of names.

A dozen of organizations — including the World Heart Federation, Action Against Smoking and Cancer Research UK — released a statement slamming the appointment, saying health officials were ‘shocked and deeply concerned’ and citing Robert Mugabe’s ‘long track record of human rights violations’.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based U.N. Watch, said in a statement, “The government of Robert Mugabe has brutalized human rights activists, crushed democracy dissidents, and turned the breadbasket of Africa and its health system into a basketcase.”

Neuer added, “The notion that the U.N. should now spin this country as a great supporter of health is, frankly, sickening.”

“The decision to appoint Robert Mugabe as a WHO goodwill ambassador is deeply disappointing and wrong,” said Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, a British charity. “Robert Mugabe fails in every way to represent the values WHO should stand for.”

The criticizers also sighted facts that Mugabe and his family plus his government officials are flown out of the country for better treatment every time they fall ill. There is no way such a person can become the WHO’s goodwill ambassador – they explained.

Obert Gutu, the spokesman of (MDC) Zimbabwe’s strongest political opposition party has said that the ‘appointment is laughable’ and the claims the director says to have based on to appoint Mugabe ‘goodwill ambassador’ are all considered sham.

Concerned organizations have also stated that Robert Mugabe’s appointment is an embarrassment to WHO and the director Tedros.













Reporter: Shamilah Namuddu


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