The Zimbabwean despot – Robert Mugabe – is on the verge of scoring a major diplomatic coup. Zimbabwe looks certain to become chair of the United Nation’s Commission on Sustainable Development. So what exactly qualifies Mugabe to take the leadership of this UN body?

Mugabe’s record on sustainable economic development is unique. Few dictators have destroyed a country’s economy more quickly or more completely. Between 2000 and 2007, the national economy contracted by as much as 40 percent. Zimbabwe has the highest inflation rate in the world; prices are increasing at over 2,200 percent a year. Zimbabwe suffers from persistent shortages of foreign exchange, fuel, and food. Under Mugabe’s mis-rule, Zimbabwe has become the second most heavily indebted country in the world.

Despite his socialist rhetoric, Mugabe has created one of the most unequal societies in the world. The lowest 10 percent of Zimbabwe's population consume only 2 percent of income while the highest 10 percent consume 41 percent. Both unemployment and poverty rates are running at nearly 80 percent of the population.

Mugabe turned Zimbabwe from being the breadbasket of southern Africa to an importer of food. His chaotic land redistribution campaign, which began in 2000, caused an mass exodus of white farmers. As he handed land over to his cronies, the economy collapsed, and ushered in widespread shortages of basic commodities, and pushed the population to the edge of famine.

His human rights record is appalling. In April 2005, his corrupt administration began “Operation Restore Order”. Using the pretext of an an urban rationalization program, his thugs destroyed the homes or businesses of 700,000 mostly poor supporters of the opposition,

Mugabe will use the leadership of the UN sustainable development committee as a platform to attack the developed world. He will peddle his usual conspiracy theories where Zimbabwe is presented as the victim of hostile western government. In the process, he will further discredit the UN and its institutions. However, the UN can hardly complain. If it is prepared to accept countries like Zimbabwe in leadership roles of the key UN institutions, ridicule and comtempt is inevitable.