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Mzembi panics over poor UNWTO preparations

ZIMBABWE risks losing the co-hosting of the prestigious United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly because of poor preparations, sources in the tourism sector have revealed.

Report by Ndamu Sandu

The fear of having the premier event snatched away from Zimbabwe has jolted Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi into action, though a little bit too late as the effects of poor preparations are imminent.

Five months before the event, the country is still to liberalise its airspace and implement a visa-friendly system, update the airport and other infrastructure to international standards.

The country’s coffers are also empty. A fortnight ago, Finance minister Tendai Biti revealed that the country, endowed with mineral resources, only had US$217 left in its bank account.

A panicking Mzembi last week said he was set to embark on a diplomatic offensive to African countries meant to ensure there is a positive turnout at the assembly meeting in Victoria Falls and Livingstone, Zambia in August this year.

He said the sojourn would take him to the African Union Commission for it to play a leading role as the event is an African baby.

“The success of the General Assembly is measured by the turnout of the delegates. Both Zimbabwe and Zambia will have door-to-door campaigns to ensure that there is maximum turnout,” he said.

There are fears that the country might fail to host the event. Such fears were heightened after Mzembi met Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in a closed door meeting on Thursday.

Mzembi said yesterday he had got commitment from Biti on the sidelines of Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.

“We need a total of US$12 million to say that we are safe and I got commitment from Biti that everything is under control,” he said.

Fears abound that UNWTO might move the meeting from Zimbabwe due to the slow pace in releasing the money.

Mzembi insists the country was spot-on as per bid specification and has to release money for the appointment of a conference organiser.

“There are no such fears. That possibility [of moving the meeting from Zimbabwe] is not there at all. We have gone past that stage and it is now more to do with our mindset in terms of what Africans want to be put on the agenda,” Mzembi said.

6 Responses to Mzembi panics over poor UNWTO preparations

  1. Chinja 4life February 10, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    That Mzembi is an overzelous person and I think is shallow brainwise, He is busy taking over Renco mines, at one time calling Makandiwa and Engel tourist attractions and now he is running around in the last minute and panicking. He is just a loud mouth lunatic pliz kick him out so that he can go and run the mine he has taken over and he will have enough time to attend his miracle churches of Makandiwa and Engel

  2. silo February 10, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    Dai asina kudhisa anaMakandiwa aitonopihwa mari yekuhosta UNWTO…ngaanokumbira ruregerero apiwa miracle money

    • bobsled February 10, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

      Really? A national event financed by “miracle money” which nobody knows where it is coming from…this sounds childish and very shortsighted. Zimbabwe haisi tuckshop homey!!

  3. Yarleba February 11, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    Imagine elections and new govt b4 the unwto. . Mzembi & Co will have been replaced by someone. . kikikkk. . kinda fun how this world works.

  4. Yarleba February 11, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    Suddenly these companies realize they ought to be responsible corporate citizens after many decades of plunder. Indigenization might/will not help the ordinary man but ownership of resource based companies is a subject that must be dealt with. Vision yasekuru Robie haina kumboipa except maybe its implementation. Asi guys would mind Walter akambodyavo? If anyone has a problem with that simuka undobvuta yako even though it can be shameful, but who cares anymore, zim is a country so full of these very unique opportunities.

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