WORLD CONDEMNS BIZARRE MUGABE WHO APPOINTMENT | Two dozen organisations — including the World Heart Federation, Action Against Smoking and Cancer Research U.K. have slammed the appointment of President Mugabe as the World Health Organisation goodwill ambassador.
They said health officials were “shocked and deeply concerned” about the appointment citing his “long track record of human rights violations.” “While we recognise that President Mugabe was the only African Head of State to accept the invitation to attend the WHO Global Conference and has made commitments to prioritise NCDs in his country, nevertheless members of the NCD civil society movement present at the conference are shocked and deeply concerned to hear of this appointment, given President Mugabe’s long track record of human rights violations and undermining the dignity of human beings.
Given these systematic abuses and his approach to NCDs and tobacco control in the past, NCD civil society present in Montevideo believe that President Mugabe’s appointment as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for NCDs cannot be justified.
We have raised these concerns with WHO DG Dr Tedros during a meeting with civil society on the side-lines of the Montevideo conference.
While we support WHO and Dr Tedros in their ambition to drive the NCD agenda forward, we are unable to recognise President Mugabe as a champion for NCDs.The British Government has complained to the WHO about the decision, warning the appointment could ‘overshadow’ the organisation’s efforts to tackle global health.
The decision is all the more bizarre because the United Nations imposes trade embargoes on arms deals against Zimbabwe.
The UK and EU also have separate financial sanctions against the country, which they say will not be lifted until ‘progress has been made on democracy, human rights and the rule of law’.
A Government spokesman said last night: ‘President Mugabe’s appointment is surprising and disappointing, particularly in light of the current US and EU sanctions against him.
‘We have registered our concerns with WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Although Mugabe will not have an executive role, his appointment risks overshadowing the work undertaken globally by the WHO on non-communicable diseases.’