SW Radio Africa (London)
Zimbabwe: Mugabe Cancels Trip to Ecuador to Receive Bogus Degree
27 September 2010
Robert Mugabe has been forced to cancel a scheduled trip to Ecuador to receive an honorary doctorate, after extensive media coverage exposed the fact that the Bishop who had conferred him with the doctorate was a bogus character, previously arrested for supplying arms of war to rebels in Colombia.
Despite claims from Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu that Mugabe cancelled the trip because of pressing government engagements at home it's thought the revelations about Bishop Crespo's shady life have diminished the propaganda value of the doctorate.
Last month Bishop Walter Roberto Crespo, who leads a discredited faction of the Anglicans in Ecuador, visited Zimbabwe to confer Mugabe with an Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law. He claimed the honour was in recognition of his 'good leadership.' The ZANU PF leader was meant to pass through Ecuador to receive the doctorate on his way home from the UN General Assembly in New York.
Things changed dramatically after details of Bishop Crespo's past began to leak out in the media. In 2001 the Bishop was arrested and jailed for 3 years for supplying arms to the guerilla movement, Revolutionary Forces of Columbia. He was also implicated in the sale of anti-tank missiles and cluster bombs to the rebels for use in killing Columbian President Alvaro Uribe.
There are also serious doubts about Crespo's church and university with even the Anglican Diocese in Zimbabwe distancing itself from his church. Rebel Anglican Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, who is locked in a bitter dispute over property with the main church, accompanied Bishop Crespo last month when he was in the country to give Mugabe the 'bogus' doctorate.
If Mugabe does eventually accept the honorary doctorate it would make it the 13th honorary degree awarded to him since independence in 1980. By all accounts 13 has turned out to be an unlucky number, given the controversies surrounding the latest degree. Three other degrees given to Mugabe have since been revoked by various universities around the world because of his appalling human rights record.
* Southern Africa
* Latin America and Africa
This month the Gukurahundi massacres committed by Mugabe's North Korean trained troops in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces were classified as genocide by the internationally recognized group Genocide Watch. Group chairperson, Professor Gregory Stanton, said the Mugabe regime has been trying to sweep this atrocity under the rug for 30 years now but this classification now means the perpetrators can be prosecuted no matter how much time has passed.
Professor Stanton also sent an official letter of protest to 'Bishop' Crespo in which he wrote:
"We will propose a resolution of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, which will meet in Buenos Aires in 2011, calling for this honorary degree for Mugabe to be cancelled. The International Association of Genocide Scholars has already passed resolutions denouncing Mugabe's genocide and crimes against humanity. We will launch campaigns in Ecuador and other members of the Organization of American States to get the honorary degree withdrawn. If necessary we will appeal to the head of the Anglican Church to get this honorary degree rescinded, if you decide to award it to this criminal".
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