Anguish for Zim, unlucky Mzembi

HARARE - Hard-working Tourism minister Walter Mzembi came agonisingly close to winning elections to become secretary-general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) which were held in Madrid, Spain yesterday — before losing in the run-off.

In the end, Zurab Pololikashvili of Georgia was elected to become the next UNWTO secretary-general, beating Mzembi by a mere three votes — and despite having lost to the Zimbabwean minister by a similar margin in the first round of voting.

Pololikashvili will replace Taleb Rifai, a Jordanian who is stepping down at the end of the year after serving two five-year terms.

In the first round of voting, Mzembi polled 11 votes to Pololikashvili’s eight. But the little-known Georgian swept to the position after polling 18 votes to the Zimbabwean minister’s 15 in the runoff.

Speaking to the Daily News soon after the poll, a distraught Mzembi said he fully accepted the election result.

“I accept the verdict of the UNWTO’s global membership.

“Of course, I am still reconciling this African loss but it has been an immense and immeasurable branding gain for Zimbabwe, Africa and indeed myself.

“I concede defeat and will continue working for global tourism with the same passion, energy and humility which I exercised during my campaign. The best man won and I pledge my support to him.

“To all my supporters and intercessors, the Lord has spoken loudly . . . next time, another opportunity, not this one!  Thank you all and may God bless you immensely for your support,” he said.

No African has led the UNWTO since it came into being in 1975.

However, international media reported yesterday that Mzembi had lost the vote due to his background as a Zanu PF politician.

“Zimbabwe’s political reputation played a major role in the elections and he (Mzembi) simply could not gather the support from enough delegates from other continents to make his dream become reality.

“Whether this is right or wrong — I tend to believe Zimbabwe is wrongly bedevilled in the West and have often said so — it is a fact of life and a fact which must have been known and understood by a man of his intellect,” Wolfgang Thome, a correspondent for global travel and tourism news portal eTN Africa said of Mzembi’s loss.

President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF government have a rocky relationship with the West, although Harare has lately been on a re-engagement mission with the developed world in a bid to normalise ties.

The West accuses Mugabe’s administration of gross human rights and property violations, following documented cases of state-sponsored violence against the opposition and the seizures of white-owned land 18 years ago.

Comments (10)

You are a hardworking person, that is a fact. You can only attempt, but the result is something else. Thank you for hard working. Continue to shine and definitely something will come up. God bless


Madyirwo amakaitwa tsano ndiwo chaiwo anoitwa Opposition muZimbabwe. Hamufe makahwinha apa manyatsonzwa kuti kudyiwa wakahwinha kunodii kurwadza hanti? Sory man finally the pain of losing a won election

john mbidzo - 13 May 2017

Everything about this guy is fake! He calls himself Engineer!What are his qualifications and which institution of Engineers is he registered with and what branch. Now he claims to have a doctorate. The people at UNTWO are not stupid.These are professionals, not kongonya dancing Women's League or sex maniac Pastors.

Guranyanga - 14 May 2017

This is not a rejection of Africa/Zim but a rejection of ZANU PF by the rest of the world. It is a good thing that those with the power are able to reject extensions of the ZANU PF mafia. They have caused untold suffering to Zimbabweans. I will have a drink tonight to celebrate this small victory.

Rasta! - 15 May 2017

I also never wanted Mzembi to win coz of his proximity to the zanupf cabal that has caused untold suffering to the rest of the masses.

Sinyo - 15 May 2017

regai mudyiwe vaakaita zvaqkanak vasina kukuvhoterai

gagamel - 15 May 2017

Mzembi could not rig this one. Shame.

zvenyika - 15 May 2017

Someone with influence probably asked this question... how can a country which terrorises its own citizens (denying their rights) for voting for opposition parties guarantee the safety and rights of tourists (foreigners)? I'm sure this question also hit Mzembi at some point during his doesn't make sense!!

Sagitarr - 15 May 2017

Thats good news indeed.You can rig some people some time but you cant rig people all the times.

Changamiri Dombo - 15 May 2017

How is Mzembi's loss taken as anguish for Zim? I dont understand this bit at all. Do you think ordinary zimbabweans give a damn about a zanu thief losing some election?

Jokonia - 15 May 2017

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