WHO scraps appointment of Robert Mugabe as ambassador

Following widespread criticism, World Health Organization reverses decision to appoint Zimbabwe president.

    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was accused of failing the country's health sector [File: Phill Magakoe/AFP/Getty Images]
    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was accused of failing the country's health sector [File: Phill Magakoe/AFP/Getty Images]

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has reversed its decision to appoint Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador, following widespread criticism.

    In a statement on Sunday, Tedros Adhanom, WHO director, said: "Over the last few days, I have reflected on my appointment ... As a result I have decided to rescind the appointment.

    "I have listened carefully to all who have expressed their concerns, and heard the different issues that they have raised."

    Mugabe, who is 93 years old, had been asked to serve in the role to help tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart attacks, strokes and asthma across Africa.

    The decision led to confusion and anger among key WHO member states and opposition figures in Zimbabwe, who noted that the country's healthcare system has suffered from challenges under Mugabe's decades-long leadership.

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among those who had criticised the appointment, saying it was "absolutely unacceptable and inconceivable".

    Social media users celebrated the WHO's decision on Sunday.

    "Good news: Sanity restored," tweeted Andrew Stroehlein‏ of Human Rights Watch.

    "I'm relieved," said columnist Nicholas Kristof, writing on Twitter.

    "Mugabe's appointment as a goodwill ambassador of WHO has been rescinded. Twitter again doing the Lord's work," said Twitter user J Papiki.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Learn what India's parties' symbols mean by drawing them

    Learn what India's parties' symbols mean by drawing them

    More than 2,300 political parties have registered for the largest electoral exercise in the world.

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.