Comedy as Robert Mugabe appointed UN ‘leader for tourism’ (Telegraph)

Mr Mugabe, 88, along with Michael Sata, the Zambian president, were
honoured by the UN’s World Tourism Organisation, when they signed an
agreement in the no-man’s-land on Victoria Falls Bridge.

The agreement will see the two countries co-host the UNWTO general
assembly in August next year. It is not a formal position, although
the UNWTO said Mr Mugabe would receive an open letter like other heads
of state who have joined its tourism campaign.

Taleb Rifai, secretary general of UNWTO, said: “By coming here, it is
recognition, an endorsement on the country [Zimbabwe] that it is a
safe destination.”

The move was criticised by political opponents.

Kumbi Muchemwa, a spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), told the Guardian: “I can’t see any justification for the man
being an ‘ambassador’. An ambassador for what? The man has blood on
his hands. Do they want tourists to see those bloody hands?”

He added: “Robert Mugabe is under international sanctions, so how do
you have an international tourism ambassador who can’t travel to other

Mr Mugabe’s spokesman Rugare Gumbo said that the “situation on the
ground in Zimbabwe is not as bad as portrayed”.

Mr Mugabe and his aides are subject to an EU travel ban that prevents
him from travelling to EU countries. Navi Pillay, the UN human rights
chief, last week urged Western countries to suspend sanctions against
Mr Mugabe and his close aides to give Zimbabwe a chance to implement
much needed reforms.

“I would urge those countries that are currently applying sanctions on
Zimbabwe to suspend them, at least until the conduct of the elections
and related reforms are clear,” she said in Harare after a five-day

“Sanctions should be entirely suspended for people to entirely focus
on economic issues that need to be addressed.”