Contrary to claims made by presidential spokesperson George Charamba, Minister of Foreign Affairs Walter Mzembi actually wanted President Robert Mugabe to occupy a much higher position of WHO global ambassador for NCDs. The same that position that was once held by former New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg. However, WHO felt that Mugabe was more suitable to for the role in Africa. Mzembi wrote a motivational letter to under-fire WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus lobbying him to give Mugabe the ambassadorial role.
Part of the letter reads:
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I watched you proudly during the official opening segment. It was good. Incidentally, I am now the minister of Foreign Affairs for Zimbabwe appointed in the last two weeks, so I am here accompanying President Mugabe and my brother, the minister of Health, Dr David Parirenyatwa.
I have spent the last week talking nothing but NCDs and I can see he has the passion and intellect at this conceptual stage to drive African advocacy on NCDs. I have just shared my thoughts with David (Parirenyatwa) and apparently, the African group in the room are eager to meet you too to lobby for this designation for the president.
He acquitted himself very well on Ebola in 2015 as chairperson of the African Union and his resource mobilisation efforts at the UN at the time for Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. I would be happy to meet you at your convenience
When asked for comment Mzembi said:
There is only one person in the delegation who got access to that motivation letter. Unless if you are not very close to that person then you can quote it, to me it’s okay but certainly not to your source.
If you proceed, you would be throwing your source under the bus
The government has been trying to spin the appointment with presidential spokesperson George Charamba said that Mugabe was never appointed, and would have turned down the appointment anyway.
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