Miss Heritage hangs in balance

HARARE - There appears to be no end in sight to the uncertainty blighting the Miss Heritage World Pageant that failed to take place last Saturday amid reports that organisers had moved it to tomorrow.

Though efforts by the Daily News to get more details on the global pageant from Miss Heritage Zimbabwe proved fruitless, well-placed sources told the paper that some members of the local organising team who include public relations officer Noriya Shahadat had quit.

Cash-strapped Miss Heritage Zimbabwe on Tuesday afternoon held a press conference where they failed to answer any of the burning questions asked by the media.

The organising team could neither provide details on the venue nor whether it would indeed be held tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) says it has no obligation to bail out Miss Heritage Zimbabwe.

Sugar Chagonda, the ZTA corporate affairs head, told the Daily News yesterday that while they are unhappy with the damage the event has created for the country, they are not obliged to intervene.

“I would like to set one thing straight with the public, ZTA are not custodians of pageants,” said Chagonda.

“We were licence holders at one point just anyone would be given a licence, but it does not mean that we are obliged to chip in when people fail to plan.

“We got the Miss Zimbabwe licence and rebranded it to Miss Tourism Zimbabwe because we wanted to promote tourism, we are a tourism facility,” he said.

Chagonda berated the organisers for failing to do proper planning.

“If they had come to us in time we might have helped them but they came late. Things are planned; we plan properly as the ZTA. We don’t want to go around seeking relevance, hijacking people’s projects. If people need help they must say so,” he said.

The ZTA corporate communications chief admitted though that the bungled pageant has tarnished the image of the country.

“The whole idea is a brilliant initiative regardless of who is pushing it. What we are hearing and reading about in the media is unfortunate because when you have representatives from over 20 countries and fail to do something meaningful it is bad because they will not talk about individuals who failed but about Zimbabwe.

“We are not happy at all. Pageants are important as seen by us taking over Miss Zimbabwe from the Miss Zimbabwe Trust for five years. If they have secured funding it’s good because they have to correct the embarrassment they have caused.”

The ZTA is disappointed by the way the organisers are shifting the blame to government.

“A pageant is not a walk in the park; it requires a proper budget and planning. Now we hear they are blaming government for failing to help them which is not good,” said Chagonda.

“They should have engaged government in the first place than waiting for things to go wrong and start pinning the blame on them. Pageants are not for profiteering.”

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