Zim needs empathetic leadership — Mzembi

HARARE - Hospitality minister Walter Mzembi, who is fighting tooth and nail for a successful hosting of next year’s travel jamboree, thinks Zimbabwe needs inspiring leadership to prosper.

Zimbabwe and Zambia will co-host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in June next year.

In an address to the annual Marketers Association of Zimbabwe awards last week, Mzembi reminisced about the Zanu PF leadership code of the early 80s. The code has been thrown out of the window as corruption takes root in the former liberation movement.

“I am still like an old record, stuck in 1980 and its servant leadership philosophy: It is the Zanu PF of 1980, and its founding republic ideology of people we worship, leaders we respect, that I reminisce about,” Mzembi said.

“We must pray to rid this country of the curse of entitlement ahead of the rest, and replace it with the more magnanimous principle of equal access and equity, seeking to redistribute wealth equally, the people must generally feel that in us, they have friends in high places,” he said.

Mzembi said it is not possible to lead without empathy.

“Our people need us to be their intercessors, for it is impossible to lead properly without a great sense of empathy. If our leadership does not inspire hope that our best days are ahead, then we have to revisit the vision,” he said.

Mzembi said he had thoughts, concerns, apprehensions and plans for the future of this country, his ministry and the forthcoming and landmark UNWTO watershed event.

“Many of us in this country today, we have been gifted with sight, immense literacy and an unassailable ability to articulate problems without proffering solutions. What I do know is that we seem to have the capacity to formulate corporate enterprise visions that do not feed into the corporate national vision hence the absence of a corporate national brand articulation,” he said.

“So we can sit here and say the nicest things, use the coolest adjectives and apply the hottest superlatives in describing one another and appreciating each other but it is the public’s perception of our virtue that is the defining metric of our brand,” Mzembi said.

Mzembi said tourism has been and will continue to grow as the immutable constant.

“People travel, trade and then invest,” he said.

“During hyperinflation, tourists travelled to witness first-hand, the billion dollar notes. I am not nostalgic about hyper-inflation, nor am I wishing the hyper-inflation days to visit us again....I am only asking that in every cloudy situation, we see the marketing silver lining,” Mzembi told delegates.

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