Sunday 22 October 2017


President Mugabe returned home from Uruguay yesterday after attending the World Health Organisation Global Conference on Non-Communicable Diseases, a meeting that culminated in him being named a WHO Goodwill Ambassador.

WHO is now rethinking its decision to name Mugabe as the ambassador after a barrage of criticism from around the world. NCDs are chronic diseases that cannot be passed from person to person, and include chronic respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, cancer and diabetes. 

The President — who was accompanied by ministers Dr Walter Mzembi (Foreign Affairs) and Dr David Parirenyatwa (Health and Child Care) —was welcomed at Harare International Airport by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Also there to welcome President Mugabe were ministers Dr Sydney Sekeramayi (Defence), Happyton Bonyongwe (Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs), Dr Joram Gumbo (Transport and Infrastructure Development) and Miriam Chikukwa (Harare Provincial Affairs); Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, and other senior Government officials and service chiefs.

In an interview on landing, Dr Parirenyatwa described the conference as a huge success, while also hailing President Mugabe’s appointment as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Africa in the fight against NCDs.

“All the nations came up with a declaration on NCDs to be put up the agenda of prevention,” he said. Dr Parirenyatwa said among other things, the declaration urges nations to mobilise resources to fight NCDs.

“This is a new page for Zimbabwe. President Mugabe is involved in a big way as Ambassador, and Zimbabwe should be a model in the fight against NCDs,” he said. 

Dr Mzembi said Zimbabwe had taken the opportunity to boost diplomatic relations with Uruguay. “The thrust going forward is linking Zimbabwe with new markets,” he said.


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