when they announce that Robert Mugabe, and his Zambian sidekick, Michael Sata, have been appointed United Nations international tourism ambassadors in recognition of the promotion and development of tourism in their countries.
The UN through the United Nations World Tourism Organisation will officially confer the status to the two presidents at a function to be held in Victoria Falls this week and officiated by the UNWTO Secretary General Mr Talib Rifai. The honour comes even though the European Union and the United States have imposed travel bans on Mugabe and many of his senior government officials due to widespread human rights abuses.
attention has been paid to the plight of Zimbabwe’s terrorized mostly Anglo
farmers whose fields were seized under President Mugabe’s ill-conceived and
disastrous land appropriation program. But the abject ruination the Mugabe
regime has wrought on the small landlocked country has affected all of its
citizens regardless of race or tribal affiliation. Mugabe’s fight to convert
white-minority-ruled Rhodesia into the modern African state of Zimbabwe was
once considered a noble cause but under his despotic rule, Zimbabwe’s
decline has been absolute and has effectively turned this relatively wealthy
functioning model of black-white co-existence into an impoverished country
that now has one of the lowest life expectancy rates and one of the worst
HIV/AIDS infection rates in the world.
Some 3,500 people die per week in
Zimbabwe due to HIV/AIDS alone. Tag on the random muggings, violence, and
property crime in a country with an unemployment rate hovering at around 80
per cent, and what remains of Zimbabwe’s populace is very beleaguered. One
of the best measurements for determining that a country has in fact hit rock
bottom is the appearance of cholera. When a state can no longer separate its
potable water from raw sewage, then any sense of concern for the general
welfare of the citizenry by the government is non-existent. The country once touted as the
bread-basket of Africa and a showcase of interracial harmony and prosperity
has become a living hell on earth.
So the question that needs to be
asked of the bureaucrats enjoying the tax-free scenery from the UN’s
headquarters on Turtle Bay, is how does a destroyer of nations like Mugabe
become a tourism ambassador? I just hope the tourists read the fine print
when they book their next trip to Zimbabwe. I also wonder if they know that
the country has now been listed as “very high” with respect to major
infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, bacterial and protozoal diarrhea,
hepatitis A, typhoid fever, malaria, schistosomiasis, and rabies just to
name but a few?
And you wouldn't want to plan on flying Air Zimbabwe. It's stopped functioning.