Tuku, you're a hero: Mzembi

HARARE - Years after superstar musician Oliver Mtukudzi released the song “Who is a hero?” — a cabinet minister this week responded to the inquisitive tune by telling the star that he was also a hero.

At a Carnival Welcome Dinner in Harare this week where Mtukudzi performed two tourism promotion songs, Walter Mzembi, the minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry praised Mtukudzi whom he said was a hero and deserved a diplomatic passport.

“I implore the senior minister in the President’s Office, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo who is the guest of honour to take our request to the highest office so it grants the singer a diplomatic passport as he is a hero,” said Mzembi.

The charismatic Tourism minister said while they recognised the heroes buried at the national shrine, it was equally important to recognise those who were still alive.

“Mtukudzi has been promoting brand Zimbabwe overseas and in Zimbabwe through his concerts and we would like to recognise him and others who include swimmers by awarding them diplomatic passports for their easy travel. They cannot be queuing with everybody,” said Mzembi.

In a Carnival night that was full of drama, circus, dance and laughter, Mzembi had guests in stitches when he also implored Khaya Moyo to remember him during the next cabinet reshuffle.

Mzembi said he first met khaya Moyo in Bulawayo at a bar. “I was in this bar and there was this guy buying everyone a round of beer. I then went to him and we began talking. I was still working as an engineer then. He told me that he was happy because he had just been elected to Parliament.”

After introducing Moyo whom he said is nicknamed “10” (10 years in the liberation struggle, 10 years as Ambassador) Mzembi took the senior minister off guard: “Remember me at the next cabinet reshuffle,” to which the senior minister replied: “Yes I will take word for you to the President!”

The minister of state for Harare province Miriam Chikukwa put quite an act of her own when she was requested to give the welcome remarks.

Chikukwa was so overwhelmed by her province hosting the Harare International Carnival saying Harare, as the “first born of Zimbabwe” the capital city had the privileged rights to that honour.

After her remarks she sang one of the longest church hymns that drew both jeers and applause from the guests. “Everything is possible with God, but not with man,” said the minister who throughout her remarks invoked God.

Chikukwa reflected on the Miss Carnival 2014 winner Gamuchirayi Kunjeke who had cried at the pronouncement that she had won the title. “I was there on the night Gamu was crowned. She cried but those were tears of joy and I could feel what she was going through.

“Even when I was appointed minister, I went through the same emotions although I could not cry in public lest people thought I was a coward.”

The toast of the dinner was legislator Joseph Chinotimba who spent the whole evening on the dance-floor entertaining guests with his comic dances.

Chinotimba, like a “drunken master” had guests in stitches as he set the Carnival mood in motion.

The night’s comic moments were augmented by the dinner’s Master of Ceremonies who in his wisdom or presentation style, forgot the full names of the guests who included ministers and their wives. In some instances he would only just remember their surnames and totems!

Yes, totems.

Throughout the night the Master of Ceremonies was in Carnival mood and like a cartoon character, he fumbled at words and pronouncements.

Senior minister Moyo during his keynote address, which started very late and end around 10pm, could have noticed that the guests were hungry when he said. “I am told there is dinner for you. I was told it is there!”

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