The World Health Organization (WHO) has reacted swiftly to international outrage over its appointment of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador, rescinding the post less than one week after it was announced.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the first African director general of the Geneva-based WHO, announced the 93-year-old leader’s appointment on October 18.
The WHO leader faced criticism in the wake of the decision from the international community and public figures in Zimbabwe, where Mugabe has been in power for 37 years and the public health system is rife with problems.
“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.