HARARE - He secured re-election in an election marred by fraud but that has not stopped Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe from being awarded China’s version of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Hailing the aging revolutionary icon’s continued work in actively promoting “African peace”, the African Union chairman was selected to win the Confucius Peace Prize.
Mugabe was said to have been chosen for “serving as the Zimbabwe president from the 1980s.”
“Overcoming a number of difficulties. Contributing to building the government, economy, and order in the country.
“While continuing to work at the age of 91 actively for African peace,” his citation stated, seemingly forgetting the violence that erupted across Zimbabwe in 2008 when hundreds of people were killed as the ruling party, aided by the military, embarked on a violent election campaign to rescue Mugabe after he lost the first round of polling.
A total of nine judges from a panel of 16 experts and scholars picked the 91-year-old to win.
It is not clear if the former guerrilla leader, who has been looking increasingly frail in recent years, will collect the award in person, which consists of a gold Confucius trophy and 100 000 yuan in prize money, which equates to $16 000.
Beating more than five nominees to win the Confucius Peace Prize, he beat other candidates including UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, South Korean President Park Geun-hye, as well as former Japanese Prime Ministers Tomiichi Murayama and Yasuo Fukuda.
Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin has previously won the six-year-old award.
The shadowy prize emerged in 2010, when it was suddenly announced by the panel two days before jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel to Beijing’s anger.
Organisers of the prize denied links to the government, but the award’s executive chairman Liu Haofeng said later that it had been set up by an association overseen by China’s culture.