Robert Mugabe, yes, that one, the continued monomaniacal leader and premier “land reformer” of Zimbabwe, has a new job! In addition to the old job! Because he is getting bored with reforming land and “winning” elections and having lots of friends do things for him with guns pointed at their heads and wads of worthless cash stuffed down their back pockets. It turns out the United Nations, not even your high school’s model United Nations team, but the real thing, has appointed Mugabe as a “leader for tourism” in the UN’s World Tourism Organization. Is this like when an alcoholic celebrity is asked to do community service? Also, Mugabe is under a travel ban, which makes this extra wonderful.
Mugabe recently met with another winner, Zambian president Michael Sata, at Victoria Falls, on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, where they shook hands and promised to try to get Richard Branson on the phone to talk about a fleet of fun planes they want to call Virgin Africa. No, not really. But well maybe!
Here’s what the UN’s WTO secretary general Taleb Rifai had to say about Zimbabwe, according to the Mugabe-run Zimbabwean newspaper the Herald:
I was told about the wonderful experience and the warm hospitality of this country … By coming here, it is recognition, an endorsement on the country that it is a safe destination.
By which he must mean…travel is CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP! Zimbabwe is the new Cancun you guys!
Er…OK! There are so many places in this world, and yet the theory seems to be…bring tourism money into dictator-run dangerzone, danger go away! Someone normal, Kumbi Mechemwa of the Movement for Deomcratic Change, had this to say, to 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?
Sure, yes. Mugabe has been in power for more than 30 years, during which time Zimbabwe has gone from the “bread basket” of Africa to a “basketcase,” in the words of AFP. But who better to be a beacon of Zimbabwean tourism than this strapping 88-year-old? He is under a travel ban, after all (specifically they won’t let him into Europe, which is inconvenient, seeing as the International Criminal Court is in Europe. Never mind). He has seen so much of Zimbabwe from his throne! He is an expert! [The Guardian]