Home | 2010NEWS | Protest singer demands UNICEF donation after goodwill ambassador praises Mugabe

Protest singer demands UNICEF donation after goodwill ambassador praises Mugabe

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Zimbabwe protest singer cum activist and one of Mugabe’s most prominent musical critics Viomak, has described UNICEF goodwill ambassador Yvonne Chaka Chaka’s recent statement as “insensitive and inconsiderate” after Zimbabwe’s state paper the Herald, reported on 18 June 2010 that Chaka Chaka had described Robert Mugabe as the "most handsome man in Africa".

Writing to UNICEF today in an email copied to me, Viomak said,

“I am kindly asking UNICEF to convince me why someone who sings praises for Mugabe should be a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, moreso on the day of the African child in contrast to UNICEF's objectives? Doesn't your organisation ask the world to unite for suffering children? Being that, isn't it a disgrace to your organisation to have an ambassador who praises Robert Mugabe, a man who is 'killing' Zimbabwean children on a daily basis?

“I am convinced Yvonne Chaka Chaka is a UNICEF badwill ambassador and a disgrace to all the suffering Zimbabwean children she is supposed to respect with dignity and love …... I have donated to UNICEF and at this time I am regretting why I did that. I am kindly asking for a response from your office or else we have to start negotiations on how I can have my money back no matter how small the amount is.I am taking the issue seriously.” She added.

The outspoken activist who also sings for charity and has made several donations to the needy reiterated that it is irresponsible for an organisation like UNICEF to be represented by a goodwill ambassador who admires Robert Mugabe considering that UNICEF stands for the rights of children who coincidentally are being killed by Mugabe on a daily basis .She added that she is not going to tolerate and support an organisation that uses her money to fund Chaka Chaka's trip to Zimbabwe,to go and shower praises to Mugabe. 

Quoting a recent BBC programme, Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children Viomak added that, “one has to be extremely insensitive and narrow minded to admire Mugabe”.

This Herald report comes after Chaka Chaka the UNICEF goodwill ambassador, visited Zimbabwe recently where she is said to have broken down and “wept openly as children narrated their horrific sexual abuse ordeals at Harare Hospital”. The UNICEF goodwill ambassador, who visited Zimbabwe as part of her official duties added that when she was young she wanted to be Zimbabwean and is thankful that "today we are free and we have got our dignity,”

“I believe she just shed crocodile tears. Something is not right. How can someone who supports Mugabe shed tears at the suffering of children ?Doesn’t she know that Mugabe is the one killing those children, and when she visited Mugabe at state house did she tell him to stop killing children? If she didn’t tell him that then she is definitely UNICEF badwill ambassador, so UNICEF should stop fooling us by sending wolves in sheep skin to pour praises on evil Mugabe.” Said  Viomak.

“It is unfortunate UNICEF’s official duties include supporting a merciless leader who has murdered and maimed.I will soon contact UNICEF again to have them stop sending me their junk mail” What dignity is there for Zimbabwean children when more than half of them are living in poverty.” Added  Viomak.

Recently media reports confirmed that thousands of Zimbabwean children are risking their lives crossing the border to South Africa. Many of the desperate children “have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS, others are fleeing hunger and poverty because of famine or drought in their village. And many are looking for an education which will give them a better chance in life”.

A visit to the UNICEF website reveals that the organisation considers the positive power of fame in choosing its goodwill ambassadors. However they don’t seem to consider the negative power of fame when choosing such ambassadors as has been proved by Viomak.

“Fame has some clear benefits in certain roles with UNICEF. Celebrities attract attention, so they are in a position to focus the world’s eyes on the needs of children, both in their own countries and by visiting field projects and emergency programmes abroad. They can make direct representations to those with the power to effect change. They can use their talents and fame to fundraise and advocate for children and support UNICEF’s mission to ensure every child’s right to health, education, equality and protection.” Says UNICEF on their website.

“What’s the purpose of fame if it is used to support murderous leaders? Chaka Chaka’s remarks only prove how fame can be used as a tool for furthering the suffering of children and destroying their livelihoods. UNICEF could be convinced that they are doing the right thing to use every Jack and Jill’s fame to pursue their agenda but the truth is fame is different from love and responsibility. How is Mugabe feeling now after being encouraged by a UNICEF goodwill ambassador to carry on his good work of neglecting Zimbabweans? Said  Viomak.

A further visit on the UNICEF website shows that some countries visited by Chaka Chaka on UNICEF official duties include Rwanda, Ethiopia, Madagascar and Namibia .

Part of the organisation’s mission statement specifies that  ,”UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to establish children's rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children. UNICEF is committed to ensuring special protection for the most disadvantaged children - victims of war, disasters, extreme poverty, all forms of violence and exploitation and those with disabilities.”

In 2008 British-based charity Save the Children is reported to have said that children in Zimbabwe face "unbearable" suffering, ranging from malnutrition and lack of health care to the threat of rape and violence.

The charity added that “Zimbabwe's six million children are among the most vulnerable in the world, with HIV/AIDS a constant threat which has made a record number orphans with many children going hungry and suffering from illness because they can't get enough clean water to drink. Their families can't afford to get them help when they are sick and one in 10 children will not make it to their fifth birthday."

UNICEF goodwill ambassador Chaka Chaka is not the first foreign singer to visit Zimbabwe State House and heap praise on the internationally acclaimed dictator Robert Mugabe despite the fact that many Zimbabwe musicians have never set feet in the State house.

Early this year ,the aging dictator Robert Mugabe  who has a history of inviting his well wisher to State House is reported to have paid US$50 000 to a Jamaican singer Sizzla after he performed at the President Mugabe's 86th birthday. The singer is also reported to have relocated to Zimbabwe after being rewarded with a farm for singing praises for Mugabe. This is despite the fact that the singer whose real name is Miguel Collins, is wanted in connection with various gun crimes committed in Jamaica. The charges that are hanging on his chest led affected residents into staging a demonstration in which they gave the disgraced singer 24 hours to leave the area. According to the media reports, “the residents claimed that men who usually gathered at Judgement Yard, owned by Sizzla, had been responsible for an upsurge of gun violence that, at the time, had claimed three lives.”

Towards the end of 2007, another Jamaican reggae singer Luciano harboured controversy after being invited by ZANUPF as a guest of the Zimbabwe government when he hailed President Robert Mugabe’s controversial land seizures. At that time Viomak wrote an email to Luciano despising the singer for being insensitive to the suffering of Zimbabweans who are living a life of poverty due to the unfavourable land seizures that have seen ZANUPF members and non farmers benefit from the chaotic land distribution programme.

Sonia Sterling, Luciano's secreatry/agent and Empress responded to Viomak’s email and said,

“I spoke to Lucie and he will give the people of Zimbabwe and the rest of the world an apology. He really thought that he was singing praise to the poor. But this is really a misunderstanding. He will give an apology for what he said. Luciano is really a good man and means well for everyone. One love.
Sonia”.

Viomak confirmed that the apology never came and she promised to remind Luciano about the apology anytime from now.

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