Tuesday, 19 April 2016


The Council of Ministers of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc)  is rallying behind Zimbabwe Tourism minister Walter Mzembi who is gunning for the position of secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

The UNWTO is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

The Sadc Council of Ministers, which met in Gaborone last month, resolved that the regional bloc would back Mzembi’s bid, according to Information minister Chris Mushowe.
This comes as the Zimbabwe government  has also thrown its weight behind Mzembi’s bid to contest for the top UNWTO job.

The incumbent, former Jordan Foreign minister Talib Rifai’s second term ends at the end of next year. Mzembi, a gifted politician and the longest serving Tourism minister in Africa, oversaw the successful co-hosting of the 20th edition of the UNWTO General Assembly by Zimbabwe and Zambia in 2013.

Mushowe said Mzembi’s endorsement by the Sadc Council of Ministers confirms the confidence that the 15-member regional bloc has in his candidacy.
“As a country committed to the growth of global tourism, we are convinced that Mzembi will acquit himself well should he be given this honour,” he said.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive Karikoga Kaseke said the benefits of having Mzembi as secretary general of UNWTO were immense.

“From a national point of view, this will be a plus for us to have someone from Zimbabwe walking in the corridors of power at the United Nations,” he said.
Kaseke added as long as all Zimbabweans support Mzembi’s bid, there is a real chance that he will land the post.

“...as Team Tourism and Team Zimbabwe we are calling for people to support us morally and financially because this is a huge task. We are appealing to the nation for moral as well as financial support so the minister lands this post,” Kaseke said.
Zimbabwe Council for Tourism chief executive Paul Matamisa said Mzembi’s move is absolutely important for Zimbabwe.

“If he goes there, he knows what that means for Zimbabwe and I am pretty sure he will be able to push things for us,” Matamisa said.

“It is important that the country supports his candidature and pray for his success. Some might think it is a loss but I think this will be a gain more than a loss. Although we will miss him on the national front, we will be gaining at a much higher level.”

Mzembi served as a member of the UNWTO Executive Council from 2009 to 2013. He was elected as the chairman of the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa in 2013 and was re-elected to that position in 2015.

The term of office of Rifai, often described as the best secretary general UNWTO ever had, is coming to an end next year at the General Assembly which will be hosted by China. daily news


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