The curtain comes down on the Harare International Carnival today in what has certainly been a memorable week of entertainment.
By Kennedy Nyavaya
By nature, carnivals are a temporary disregard of everyday rules and norms juxtaposed with public celebration, parades and street parties.
Themed One Love, Our Unity Our Pride, the local fiesta seemed to stagger on parallel lines with the agenda as apparent disunity among authorities made love the least of feelings portrayed.
The brilliant tourism idea was turned into a game of egos and a showcase of power, appearing to suck the happy energy off the public.
“To all people out there, I want to encourage them to be part of this carnival, a platform bringing us together to celebrate our oneness and unity as aptly captured in the theme for this year,” Tourism minister Walter Mzembi said last Monday.
According to Mzembi, the event which is still “teething and growing”, needs all hands on deck to present meaningful financial return for government investments.
“As government, we are optimistic that it will yield a return on investment in the next five to 10 years, hence the reason why the project has continued to receive major support from the treasury,” he said.
“Government believes in the power of the carnival, particularly its potential to generate the much-needed revenue for the country. All the economic benefits we project will be a function of how much we invest now.”
While Mzembi’s sentiments carried much weight, they were void without the actual action of pulling in one direction.
At the media briefing, it was encouraging to see the minister and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) boss Karikoga Kaseke smiling at each other
Surely, the discord between government and ZTA pertaining South African socialite Zodwa Wabantu’s invitation was too much for officials purporting to represent one brand.
Ultimately authorities should not let boardroom fights compromise the “gross national happiness” agenda, they should simply let the people’s carnival be.