Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has been removed as a goodwill ambassador, the earth Health Organization said on Sunday, following outrage among Western donors along with rights groups at his appointment.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus named Mugabe to the largely ceremonial post at a meeting on Wednesday in Uruguay on chronic diseases attended by both men.
At the time, Tedros praised Zimbabwe as “a country in which places universal health coverage along with health promotion at the centre of its policies to provide healthcare to all.”
nevertheless Tedros said in a statement in which he had listened to those expressing concerns along with heard the “different issues” raised.
“Over the last few days, I have reflected on my appointment of H.E. President Robert Mugabe as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for NCDs (non-communicable diseases) in Africa. As a result I have
decided to rescind the appointment,” Tedros said.
The decision had been taken after consultation with the Harare government along with was “within the best interests of the earth Health Organization,” he said.
Jeremy Farrar, a global health specialist along with director of the Wellcome Trust charity along with the NCD alliance, representing health groups combating chronic diseases, welcomed the reversal.
“Dr Tedros deserves all our support to ensure he along with WHO build a global health movement in which will be inclusive along with works to improve health for everyone,” Farrar said in a statement.
Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Walter Muzembi accepted the move while insisting in which WHO had “benefited tremendously” via having nominated Mugabe along with the media buzz the item brought to health issues.
“So on the balance, the item will be wiser to let go, along with help WHO focus on its mandate while we focus Zimbabwe on its membership obligations,” Muzembi said in a government statement.
Several former along with current WHO staff had said privately they were appalled at the “poor judgement” along with “miscalculation” by Tedros, elected the first African head of WHO in May.
Mugabe was head of the African Union when the bloc endorsed Tedros — a former health along with foreign minister of Ethiopia — over some other African candidates for the top post, without any real
regional contest, they said.
Mugabe, 93, will be blamed within the West for destroying Zimbabwe’s economy along with for numerous human rights abuses during his 37 years leading the country as either president or prime minister.
Britain had said Mugabe’s appointment as a goodwill ambassador was “surprising along with disappointing” along with in which the item risked overshadowing the WHO’s global work. The United States, which has imposed sanctions on Mugabe for alleged human rights violations, also voiced disappointment.
“He (Tedros) has to remember where his funding comes via,” said one health official who declined to be identified.
The Trump administration, which will be already questioning financial support for some United Nations agencies, will be WHO’s largest single donor.
WHO will be struggling to recover a reputation tarnished by its slowness in tackling the Ebola epidemic in which killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa via 2014-2015 under Tedros’
predecessor, Margaret Chan.
The agency will be today grappling which has a massive cholera outbreak in Yemen in which has infected some 800,000 people within the past year along which has a plague outbreak in Madagascar in which has killed nearly 100
in two months.