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Mugabe would have rejected WHO role, says spokesman after its U-turn

Mugabe would have rejected WHO role, says spokesman after its U-turn
From Reuters - October 24, 2017

HARARE (Reuters) - Robert Mugabe would have rejected the role of World Health Organization goodwill envoy had he been formally asked, his spokesman said on Tuesday, days after state media cheered the Zimbabwean presidents appointment.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus named Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador on Wednesday at a conference in Uruguay that both men were attending.

But the appointment was rescinded on Sunday following a backlash from Western donors, rights groups and opposition parties.

Last Friday, the state-owned Herald celebrated the largely ceremonial appointment as a New feather in Presidents cap, adding that Mugabe, 93, had accepted the role.

His spokesman told the same newspaper on Tuesday that Zimbabwes sole leader since independence from Britain in 1980 had only heard about the appointment via the media.

Had anything been put to the president ... (he) would have found such a request to be an awkward one, Charamba was quoted as saying, citing Zimbabwes role as a tobacco producer.

The WHO cannot take back what it never gave in the first place, and as far as he is concerned, all this hullabaloo over a non-appointment is in fact a non-event.

Charamba did not respond to calls seeking further comment.

Mugabes critics were outraged by Tedros announcement, saying he was rewarding a man whose government had presided over the collapse of Zimbabwes health system.

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