World Health Organization withdraws Mugabe's goodwill ambassador title

Elias Hubbard
October 24, 2017

In the face of mass condemnation, World Health Organization chief Dr. Tedros Ad-hanom Ghebreyesus has rescinded the goodwill ambassadorship he bestowed on Zimbabwe's bloody and corrupt president, Robert Mugabe.

"We have listened carefully to all the concerns that have been raised", World Health Organization head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement explaining why President Mugabe's appointment was canceled.

"I have listened carefully to all who have expressed their concerns", he added.

And after consultations with the Zimbabwean government, he said they concluded that the rescinding decision was in the best interest of the United Nations agency.

Director of biomedical research charity Wellcome Trust Jeremy Farrar said on Twitter he welcomed Tedros' decision. It is my aim to build a worldwide movement for global health.

WHO received barrage of concerns, mostly pointing to Mugabe's own backyard where the health care sector is said to be ailing.

Mugabe, sadly, does have influence: He was head of the African Union when it united to push Tedros, an Ethiopian technocrat, to take over at WHO.

In Zimbabwe, Foreign Minister Walter Mzembi said that "the inordinate noise around the designation... does not assist the cause in the first place", according to state-run broadcaster ZBC.

A goodwill ambassador may be a largely symbolic role, but the symbolism of giving it to a man whose leadership of Zimbabwe has, critics say, coincided with a collapse of its health service, and major human rights abuses, will be very unpopular, she said.

The agency is now grappling with a massive cholera outbreak in Yemen that has infected some 800,000 people in the past year and a plague outbreak in Madagascar that has killed almost 100 in two months.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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