UN chooses Robert Mugabe as a 'leader for tourism'


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Indy Politics

Never mind that Robert Mugabe is under a travel ban for his cruel stewardship of Zimbabwe since independence. The United Nations, in its wisdom, has designated him a "leader for tourism" and chosen the Victoria Falls, shared with Zambia, as the venue for a holiday industry conference next year.

At the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), based in Madrid, the thinking seems to be: "If the old man can't visit us then we should visit him."

The honour was made official when UNWTO head, Taleb Rifai, arrived at the Falls for a ceremony to name Zimbabwe and Zambia co-hosts of the 2013 conference. Also on hand were Mr Mugabe and President Michael Sata of Zambia. The UNWTO denied reports the leaders were being made official UN "tourism ambassadors", saying that an open letter merely invited them to champion tourism. Nonetheless, Mr Mugabe embraced the accolade.

"We will spare no effort in delivering to you and the whole global tourism family a uniquely African experience," he said.

Kumbi Muchemwa, a spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said: "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?"