UN system needs overhaul: Mzembi

Dr Mzembi

Dr Mzembi

Farirai Machivenyika Herald Reporter
Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Walter Mzembi has said the United Nations (UN) system needs urgent reform, starting with its agencies following a decision by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to rescind its appointment last week of President Mugabe as goodwill ambassador in the fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Africa.

WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus rescinded his decision yesterday, bowing to sustained pressure from Western countries, the main funders of the UN agencies.

“I am personally a victim of the goings-on in the UN system. You cannot reform it at the top unless you start with its building blocks or pillars, the UN Agencies, bottom up and my own experiences at the UNWTO are in themselves a global case study on the need for reform,” Minister Mzembi said.

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Dr Mzembi lost in his bid to be UNWTO secretary general in controversial circumstances earlier this year when he was still Minister for Tourism. This was despite his sterling performance in helping Zimbabwe co-host the UNWTO general assembly in 2013.

Dr Mzembi said President Mugabe remained committed to the fight against NCDs despite the machinations of the West which has maintained a ruinous sanctions regime on Zimbabwe for nearly two decades for redistributing its land to poor blacks.

“The inordinate noise around the designation of the President (Mugabe) as WHO, AFRICA Global Ambassador for Africa does not assist the cause in the first place. If anything, it is WHO that has benefited tremendously from its decision in nominating President Mugabe to lead the fight against NCDs through media amplification of WHO itself, and curiosity by the general public on what really are NCDs, by tagging the name Mugabe to the debate. On a name recognition scale, this name beats them all but it is our business to protect its brand equity from unnecessary besmirching,” said Dr Mzembi yesterday.

“So on the balance, it’s wiser to let go, and help WHO focus on its mandate while we focus Zimbabwe on its membership obligations. That notwithstanding, the President will carry on with his passion for NCDs which are killing over 40 million people per annum with 80 percent of them from the developing world. That, more than the global ambassadorship, was the motivation, saving lives and answering SDG Goal 3.4 and that is to cut premature deaths from NCDs by a third going forward to 2030. We respect the WHO decision as much as we respected their initial decision to honour our President,” Dr Mzembi said.

Political analysts said the decision was a result of bullying by the West. Mr Goodwine Mureriwa said he was not surprised by Dr Ghebreyesus’ about-turn.

“It is not surprising at all. A heavy and hard stick has been applied on the director. The Western monsters say ‘either you are with us or you against us’. Their hegemonic capitalist monopoly is so pervasive and ubiquitous. It continues to be a neo-colonial albatross around Africa’s neck,” said Mr Mureriwa.

“The West are hypocritical bullies and this is why we pulled out of the Commonwealth. The move to rescind the appointment (of President Mugabe) is malicious and barbaric, yet it only hardens us to protect our independence and sustain our sovereignty. Right is might and we will never allow wrong to override right. It’s about principles,” Mr Mureriwa said.

He added that the decision by WHO justifies urgent calls to reform the UN system.

“What has happened is the reason why the UN system has to be reformed and democratised so that it does not pander to the whims of a few powerful nations. It’s clear that the UN agencies are not independent and can be rail-roaded into making decisions that please a few nations,” he added.

Analyst and lawyer Mr Tendai Toto acknowledged that Dr Ghebreyesus acted under immense pressure to reverse his decision.

“The ambassadorial role has been rescinded after immense pressure and campaign by the global powerful and heavyweights as a way of embarrassing Zimbabwe. One asks the question, what goodwill and ingenuity was there in the appointment in the first place? And of what validity and substance is the rescission of that appointment? It presents a global diplomatic circus that leaves many to wonder if WHO is a serious and solid world organisation,” Mr Toto said.

Writing on Facebook, a Mr Jonathan Shoniwa said the appointment was an acknowledgement in the first place of something that President Mugabe had done.

“The people that appointed him are serious medical professionals, what had they seen? Vangavaoneyi? And where has it gone to?” he querried.

He also slammed Zimbabweans who were at the forefront of calling for the reversal of President Mugabe’s appointment.

“It’s sad because the people at the forefront (of calling for the rescinding of the award) were Zimbabweans, decrying their own. This appointment was not about one man, but the country, Brand Zimbabwe. It had the potential to open doors for our young medical students, for the country’s health sector and the economy as a whole,” he said.

In his statement announcing the rescission of the appointment, Dr Ghebreyesus tacitly admitted that he had been pressurised to act.

“I have listened carefully to all who have expressed their concerns, and heard the different issues that they have raised. 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 Organisation,” reads part of his statement.

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  • Hlahla Hamburamatope

    Pathetic just pathetic’ when your grandson has flue you fly to Asia and you want to be appointed ambassador of WHO when you have crippled your general populace health care system. Bvuma mawondoka nyika- to imagine how many hospitals would be equipped with this useless foreign trips

  • Haa

    Mzembi just a chancer and a desperate boy. Misguided comments and Headline -Herald say it as it is. The Mugabe brand sadly has no takers

  • SlackJawedYokel

    This Ethiopian fool is a good example why Africans are bad leaders. In your right mind, how can you appoint such a person. Really vakomana!? Zvinonyadzisa izvi…next time these who organizations must be headed by sober people not fools from bloody thirsty dictatorships.

    • Mungandidii

      How can you appoint and then go back on your decision for whatever reseaon. I did not like the appointment but i think its much more embarrassing when you rescind.

      • mofu

        Embarrassing to zanu pf and their goblin not UN.That was big mistake by UN.Thank God they corrected it .

  • SlackJawedYokel

    Maybe an ambassador for the Far East, I would agree on that one

  • Vangodza

    Now we’re buying blood, so what ambassador is that?

  • mandevu

    Mzembi. Look inwards first and you will discover that this country is in dire need of its own overhaul – starting with the now defunct so-called revolutionary party of Zanu PF

  • Leonard

    Brand Zimbabwe kuita sei kwacho nyika iri mamvemve. Zimbabweans made an outcry because they bear the brunt of the healthcare system that you ruined. Apa murikutukirira West iri iyo that’s holding up what’s left of the healthcare system. Vanhu vapera kufa muchingokuma zvisina basa rose apa musingarapwi muZimbabwe macho! Sanctions kudini kwacho tichiziva kuti government coffers are looted like its the new normal. 15 billion iya iripi apa mugadzirise nyika! Musarotomoke nonsense!

  • Joe public

    This is so embarrassing for Zimbabwe tosvika rini tiri chiseko

  • Frank

    The truth of the matter is that our hospitals are partly functional.meaning there is something wrong being done by our president Mugabe. To prove this fact of non functional hospitals none of our ministers and the president himself are treated in Zimbabwe even small ailments or check ups. So food for thought. I rest my case

  • Cde Hondo

    The moment I came across “western monisters, independence, sovereignty, sanctions and land “, I saw Dr Muzvinavhu in the whole story. It’s Zimbabweans who where angry not sanctions bla bla bla bla bla bla bla.

  • eliah

    sour grapes Walter, we need to be a power house in order to reform anything and it does not look like we will achieve any time soon when we let huge funds like 15bn slip through our fingers in broad day light..

  • nelson moyo

    Comrade Doctor Mzembi loves spending more time outside of Zimbabwe lecturing to anyone who might listen. His first priority is inside Zimbabwe sorting out the many problems we have here, at home within our borders

  • zimbotry

    Just look at the state of our own Health system and the reason is clear to see. End of story. Just because certain people bury their heads in the sand here, does not mean that the rest of the World is not seeing the truth

  • chinos

    Was meant to embarrass our leader. But in the same breath says a lot about our health system.Truth be told the health system evaporated from this country. Time to start doing the right thing

  • Rasta!

    Our country’s leadership is the one in desperate need of overhauling.

  • Awayfornow

    V interesting that the UN decided to make HE an Ambassador in the first place. Nothing healthy about our health system after 37 years under his guidance.

    All about patronage and back scratching.

    But I think on balance the publicity is good and we might have more focus and profile on the state of our health system.

    Expect headlines saying “more forex for drugs” etc.

  • Trex1

    Suddenly the grapes are sour. When the ambasadorial role was given everything was fine. When Mzembi was globetrotting for the UN post, everything was hunky-dory. Lets see if these people will go to UN meetings again seeing that they think its rigged.

  • Nyasha

    Talk about the log in someone else’s eye! Minister, fight for a lot of things that need reforming at home I’m Zimbabwe b4yiy touch UN.
    1. The Zim constitution which keeps that oldie in power since 1980
    2. The riot police which deny Zimbabwean their domestic voice
    3. Yourself who is a prolific womaniser and a small house champion

  • Nyasha

    Stop seeing the log in UN’s eye when your logs minister and your Zanu are embarrassing

  • Widzo

    Tangai magadzirisa mumusha menyu kwete kuttanga kutevera nana UN. Tibvirei apo kusanyara

  • mandevu

    the reason why so many Zimbabweans are so outspoken against Zanu PF and its leadership, is that you have brutalised the citizens of this country – physically and mentally. You have killed the economy, destroyed the infrastructure and sold the strategic assets. You want us to be grateful for this? To say nice things about you? MMhhh

  • Mungandidii

    What should have been the headline here, the rescission falls under the radar!!

  • Cecil Roars

    Iwe nyora zvatinonzwa. This is a platform for communicating your ideas to all of us. Ukwane! I think the Herald should not allow this unless the intention is to show to all of us that there are fools on this platform too.

  • yowe

    Better he should focus on problems at home…be a goodwill ambassador in Zimbabwe and provide for your people first.Why should the West fork out money to give him ???

  • Widzo

    Herald moderator wakandimaka you never publish my comments. Asi takadzidza tese ndikakutorera chimoko?

  • Robin

    UN does need an overhaul, the Zimbabwean health care system definitely needs one, and I am sure that once it is working at its best it will also do an overhaul on your brain. The president of Zimbabwe probably doesn’t even know where Harare hospitals are or what they look like inside. He does not know of the suffering the very people he serves and you want him to be an ambassador because of his so called “fight for public health”. The only public health he enriches is the Asian public health sector.

  • Loud Speaker

    …Is this the same Walter that had visions of a Disney World in present day Zimbabwe?

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