Zimbabwean human rights groups have called out soccer’s international governing body for handing Robert Mugabe, the country’s notorious leader, a “propaganda coup” when he was permitted to hold up the World Cup trophy while it made its way through the African continent. — JCL

The Guardian:

Human rights groups in Zimbabwe have condemned world football’s governing body for allowing Robert Mugabe to hold the World Cup trophy as it passed through Zimbabwe.

The trophy is on a tour of all 53 African countries ahead of next year’s football showpiece in neighbouring South Africa. But activists in Zimbabwe criticised Fifa for handing a propaganda coup to a leader blamed for atrocities and oppression.

At a ceremony in Harare yesterday, Mugabe joked gleefully as he lifted the cup. Inspecting the 6.5kg solid gold trophy, the president could not resist a dig at his old enemy Britain, according to the New Zimbabwe website. “Britain does not have any gold, neither does Germany,” he was quoted as saying.

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