Canada Protests Mugabe's Appointment As Tourism Leader

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said the appointment of the Zimbabwe leader symbolised what was wrong with the UN.

Baird told the House of Commons on Thursday that the move to appoint Mugabe was “outrageous”.

Mugabe is widely accused of human rights violations, charges he vehemently denies and instead accuses the Western powers of trying to effect reigme change in Zimbabwe in order to reverse the land reform programme.

British parliamentarians also asked the House of Commons on Thursday to ensure that the European Union foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, formally protests against the nomination this week of Mugabe along with Zambia’s Michael Sata at a ceremony held in Victoria Falls.

Scottish MEP Alyn Smith said: “I would also ask for your assurance that the EU will neither recognise this appointment nor engage with Mugabe in this or any other official role.”

He described Mugabe’s elevation to the role as “bizare scandalous and disgraceful”.

Smith who wrote a letter to the EU about the matter said “it made absolutely no sense”.

“As one of the world’s most barborous dictators, Mugabe has wrecked his own tourist industry and brought Zimbabwe to the edge of economic ruin. He consistently betrays human rights, has defied democracy and uses violence to hang on to power.”

“To Appoint him to this position seriously damages the credibility of the UN and helps to provide legitimacy to a regime, which is one of the most oppressive in Africa and beyond. It also undermines efforts to promote genuine democracy in Zimbabwe.

“Mugabe is not a global tourist leader. In deed, as an international pariah, he is exactly the opposite.”

British MP Kate Hoey said: “It is an absolute scandal and an affront to the people of Zimbabwe who didn’t vote Mugabe as their President but had him imposed because he used violence and the armed forces to hang onto power in defiance of the democratic will of the people.”

“For a man who has destroyed his country’s infrastructure and cynically engineered hunger to be an “ambassador” for tourism is disgraceful – particularly as he has been personally responsible for the downward spiral of the economy and destroyed the hotel, travel and tourism industry in the process.”

Zimbabwe and Zambia are co-hosting the UNWTO general assembly next year and the two neighbouring countries will become the only other African countries to host the general assembly after Senegal hosted the meeting a few years ago.