by Tariro D. Senderayi
Zimbabwe’s Minister of Tourism lost out on the UNWTO Secretary General post. The result cultivated a mixed bag of reactions. Mzembi who had won the first round of elections proceeded to lose in the second round to his Georgian counterpart, Zurab Pololikashvili. Zimbabweans, rose to the occasion on social media as most jubilated and ululated at Mzembi’s defeat as they strongly felt he had so much work to do on the home front before aspiring to play the global plane. Some more “patriotic” Zimbabweans insisted he fought a good and strong fight that flew our nation’s flag so high regardless of his ZANUPF political outfit.
— Rufaz~Jerera King 💂 (@Mavhure) May 14, 2017
It is only natural for the diligent to ponder on the reasons why the famous Minister was on the receiving end of the defeat baton. Could it be the curse of the ‘2nd most developed African country’ that followed him across the seas and borders or in the 2nd round he genuinely failed to garner enough support to walk him through a resounding victory or better yet the UNWTO forum was not yet prepared for an African Secretary General?
Those who were and are in support of his defeat insisted that it was ambitious and presumptuous on his part to think he could have bagged that prestigious position especially at this particular time in Zimbabwe. Being a card holding member of the ruling party ZANU PF that is blamed across the world for its blatant disregard for the rule of law, the constitution and the will of the majority, it comes as no surprise that he lost. Never mind, the greedy and corrupt nature of the party that has seen Zimbabwe falling apart at the seams, he surely did not stand a fair chance. To make matters worse, he was once embroiled in the center of a fraud storm with regards to his qualifications. As it was alleged that he had fabricated his engineer qualification and that the litany of academic achievements he claims to have are all but a sham.
A few weeks before the UNWTO election President of Zimbabwe made an auspicious claim at the World Economic Forum that Zimbabwe is the 2nd most developed African country after South Africa. As a cabinet minister of such a deluded leader obviously, the sins of the father would have followed the son. And maybe why he did not win was because those who chose not to cast their ballot in his favor felt that it would be hypocrisy of the highest nature to endow a member of ZANU PF such a responsibility.
However, some say he never stood a chance in the second round of elections because with the results of the first round, his European and South American counterparts, votes combined, upped their game. Thus, the African vote stood no chance against the European and South American votes combined. It could also mean that the UNWTO was not yet ready for an African Secretary General.
It is the reactions of Zimbabweans that have been an arena of interest as some are nonchalant and are unmoved by his loss as they claim it does not bring food onto their table. Some are passionately in support of his defeat as they insist that if he had won, his victory would have been rubbed in our noses for months to come. Everywhere you would turn be it the radio, television and newspaper, Mzembi would have been the hero whilst the country burns. Not only that but some even feared that if he had won it would warrant a cabinet reshuffle. Furthermore, they reiterated that maybe he needs to build the tourism brand back home first and dedicate time and effort to that sector as the Minister first before attempting to join the global tourism table. As for the patriotic sons and daughters of the soil, they took his loss as a massive blow to Zimbabwe as they claim we should not use political party lens to view the situation but instead see it as a global opportunity lost, which could have been occupied by Zimbabwe.