Govt Defends First Lady’s Harvard Ambassadorial Role
The government through controversial Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister Energy Mutodi Wednesday morning defended the First Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa against a group of former U.S ambassadors to Zimbabwe who want Harvard University to rescind her appointment as health ambassador.
The Ivy League American institute on Monday appointed Mnangagwa as a health ambassador for her work in the health sector.
She has been advocating for free cancer screening among women as well as better healthcare for children through her Angel of Hope Foundation
However, the former diplomats including Charles Ray, Christopher Dell and Todd Moss wrote a letter to Harvard University appealing against Auxillia’s appointment saying she is part of a government system that has been overseeing human rights abuses as more than 50 government critics and activists have allegedly been abducted in Zimbabwe over the past nine months.
“We collectively write to you today with profound concern over your decision to honour the First Lady of Zimbabwe, Auxillia Mnangagwa, with an honorary ambassadorship as part of your otherwise noble institutional efforts to increase access to women’s health and to reduce healthcare disparities in the developing world.
“To be blunt, your well-intentioned work in these areas are tainted by the affiliation with Ms Mnangagwa and her direct personal connection to an increasingly corrupt and abusive administration in which tolerance for dissent is nonexistent and democratic rights are violently denied,” reads part of the statement from the former diplomats.
However, the government responded saying human rights abuses were “untrue” and “stage-managed by western sponsored activists bent on tarnishing the government’s image.”
Mutodi further stated that the Harvard Institute should not be confused as a racist social club meant to honour white supremists.
“The academic institution needs to be given its freedom to honour those it believes have made a significant contribution to social change in the societies they belong…” Mutodi said.