Mugabe made UN tourism envoy

Last updated 17:18 30/05/2012
Reuters
UN ENVOY: Robert Mugabe has signed up as a UN envoy of tourism.

Relevant offers

Africa

The astonishing science behind the desert's mysterious fairy circles Suicide blast kills more than 40 in northern Mali military camp At least 76 killed in air strike on Nigerian refugee camp - Red Cross Nigerian jet mistakenly bombs refugee camp, killing more than 100 people Nyajime Guet, 4, has survived the odds as South Sudan's humanitarian crisis unfolds Lions decapitated in South Africa, likely for medicine Streets of Ivory Coast cities calm after soldier mutiny Zuma's ex-wife given boost in South Africa leadership race Ivory Coast defence minister trapped in city as soldiers open fire Kiwi social entrepreneur braves it all to teach Malagasy children to code

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is the latest international envoy to represent the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

Mugabe gained the recognition despite a poor international reputation in which he is accused of ethnic cleansing, rigging elections and leading Zimbabwe's ruined economy.

University of Zimbabwe politics professor John Makumbe was surprised by the accolade.

"I think it's ridiculous because Zimbabwe is one of the countries least used by tourists," said Makumbe.

"Tourism is at its lowest level because of the political and economic crises it's gone through. Tourists really wish Victoria Falls was in another country, like South Africa.

"Robert Mugabe will do more damage to international tourism than good. His image is in tatters, his country is an international pariah."

Yet on Tuesday at Victoria Falls, Mugabe, along with Zambian president Michael Sata, signed an agreement with UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai to take on the envoy role.

The agreement comes ahead of next year's UNWTO general assembly to be hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in August next year.

The UNWTO said it had not appointed Mugabe to any formal position and that Mugabe had only signed an open letter about supporting tourism to heads of state.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has launched criticism at the decision too.

"It boggles the mind how the UN could appoint Mugabe as an ambassador of any sort," said a coalition spokesperson.

"It sends the wrong message to Mugabe that he is now acceptable to the international community.

"This is the same guy who last week was bashing gays and lesbians, who he says are worse than dogs."

Mugabe is unable to travel freely with European Union and US sanctions placed upon him.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content