The World Health Organization (WHO) on Sunday bowed to global outrage, thus reversing its controversial appointment of Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe as its “goodwill ambassador.”
Yesterday, 360nobs reported that WHO’s decision to appoint the Zimbabwean President a “good-will ambassador” was met with global outrage from medical professionals, rights groups, opposition leaders and several organisations including the British government.
Please see my statement rescinding the appointment of a Goodwill Ambassador for NCDs in Africahttps://t.co/dyxFzNAFqk
— Tedros Adhanom (@DrTedros) October 22, 2017
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who made the appointment on Wednesday, October 18, said in a statement that he had listened to those expressing concerns.
“I have decided to rescind the appointment,” Ghebreyesus said Saturday in a statement, saying he had “reflected” on his decision.
“I have listened carefully to all who have expressed their concerns, and heard the different issues that they have raised,” Ghebreyesus said.
“I have also consulted with the government of Zimbabwe and we have concluded that this decision is in the best interests of the World Health Organization,” he said.
Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state, has long been criticized at home for going overseas for medical treatment as Zimbabwe’s once-prosperous economy falls apart. Mugabe also faces U.S. sanctions over his government’s human rights abuses.
Goodwill ambassadors for WHO are public figures appointed to two-year terms by the director-general. They work closely with UN officials to raise awareness of global health issues.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was named a global ambassador for noncommunicable diseases last year.