HARARE – Without a doubt the decision by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to rescind its earlier decision to appoint President Robert Mugabe as its African ambassador for Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) is hard to take for the nonagenarian and his band of supporters.
It leaves Mugabe embarrassed and hurt because he personally did not ask for it.
He can be forgiven for thinking that the world is against him.
Last Thursday, Mugabe was given the ambassadorial role at the WHO technical meeting on NCDs in Montevideo, Uruguay, to spark wild cheers and celebrations within Zanu PF as this was seen as another endorsement of the 93-year-old Zimbabwean leader.
As we report today in this newspaper, newly-appointed Foreign Affairs minister Walter Mzembi, heavily lobbied for Mugabe to be given the ambassadorial role contrary to a picture painted by some apparatchiks who wanted the world to believe that the choice of Mugabe was settled naturally.
Mzembi pushed despairingly for Mugabe to also replace former New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, as the WHO global ambassador.
As Foreign Affairs minister, Mzembi has started on a very bad note as the world would now choose to focus on Mugabe being embarrassed and humiliated by the WHO when he didn’t deserve to be subjected to this.
At 93, Mugabe has occupied so many roles that he doesn’t need anyone, including his Foreign Affairs minister to do the lobbying for him to land some post.
If truth be told, Mzembi’s job is not to market Mugabe but to employ serious diplomacy needed to win Zimbabwe the friends and allies that it has lost over the past two decades due to our toxic politics.
In the eyes of many countries, Zimbabwe is damaged goods and it is futile to try and project it and its leadership as the best thing found in Africa.
This is the ugly truth which hurts but it’s got to be said to remind the likes of Mzembi that he is now wearing very big shoes that need icy cool calmness.
If it was part of Mzembi’s plan to continue ingratiating himself with Mugabe, like he has regularly done without some form of restraint, it backfired spectacularly.
Why make Mugabe a laughing stock?
Why bring his name to be a subject of bad jokes?
In all fairness, Mugabe’s humiliation by the WHO should be blamed on Mzembi.