The World Health Organization has revoked the appointment of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador following a widespread outcry. [BBC].
Last week, the newly elected WHO leader, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus appointed President Robert Mugabe was appointed by as a goodwill ambassador on non-communicable diseases.
However, Dr. Tedros has had to rescind Mugabe’s appointment after listening “carefully to all who expressed their concerns” about the 93-year-old’s poor human rights record.
I’m listening. I hear your concerns. Rethinking the approach in light of WHO values. I will issue a statement as soon as possible
— Tedros Adhanom (@DrTedros) October 21, 2017
Reversing his appointment, Dr. tedious said it is his focus to build a universal health movement that works for everyone and that he remained “firmly committed to working with all countries and their leaders”.
Please see my statement rescinding the appointment of a Goodwill Ambassador for NCDs in Africahttps://t.co/dyxFzNAFqk
— Tedros Adhanom (@DrTedros) October 22, 2017
How bad was the backlash to Mugabe’s appointment?
The Australian published an article describing Mugabe’s appointment as a “political payoff from Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – the WHO’s first African director-general – to China, a long-time ally of Mugabe, and the 50 or so African states that helped to secure Tedros’s election earlier this year.”
The Independent said ‘there is no goodwill from Robert Mugabe‘ and accused him of having blood on his hands.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the decision as “absolutely unacceptable”.
“When I heard of Robert Mugabe’s appointment … quite frankly, I thought it was a bad April Fool’s joke,” he told reporters. [Al Jazeera].
Kenneth Roth, the head of Human Rights Watch, ridiculed Mugabe’s frequent medical travels.
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) October 21, 2017
Zimbabwe’s government has said it respects WHO’s decision to rescind Mugabe’s appointment, but not without slyly condemning the action. [News24].