Mu­gabe beats Bill Gates to win China’s ‘No­bel Peace Prize’

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

Zim­bab­wean Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe has been awarded China’s al­ter­na­tive to the No­bel Peace Prize for what the prize com­mit­tee called his in­spired na­tional lead­er­ship and ser­vice to pan-African­ism.

The 91-year-old Mu­gabe is the lat­est in a se­ries of crit­ics of the West who have re­ceived the Con­fu­cius Peace Prize, first awarded in 2010 amid Bei­jing’s anger and re­sent­ment over the grant­ing of the No­bel Peace Prize to im­pris­oned Chi­nese dis­si­dent Liu Xiaobo.

Mu­gabe re­ceived only 36 of 76 votes, but was awarded the prize fol­low­ing a meet­ing of the com­mit­tee’s 13-mem­ber re­view board. Other can­di­dates in­cluded Mi­crosoft founder Bill Gates, Kazakh Pres­i­dent Nur­sul­tan Nazarbayev and South Korean Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye.

Prior re­cip­i­ents of the prize, granted by a non­govern­men­tal com­mit­tee com­posed mainly of schol­ars, in­clude former Cuban leader Fidel Cas­tro and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. None has come to claim the prize in per­son.

Mu­gabe has “over­come dif­fi­cul­ties of all kinds and has strongly com­mit­ted him­self to con­struct­ing his na­tion’s po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic or­der, while strongly sup­port­ing pan-African­ism and African in­de­pen­dence,” the com­mit­tee said in an­nounc­ing the award.

Mu­gabe, Africa’s old­est head of state, is a re­silient leader who fought in a guer­rilla war, de­nounces the West, crushed or co-opted dissent at home and has been in power for 35 years with no clear suc­ces­sor.

He is the head of the 54-mem­ber African Union and also the ro­tat­ing chief of the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity, a 15-na­tion group.

Zim­babwe’s Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe

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