The fate of this year’s Miss Tourism Zimbabwe finals remains unknown following the withdrawal of the pageant licence by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), amid revelations that disorder and confusion continue to haunt the pageant.
By Kennedy Nyavaya
Following the latest political developments and subsequent firing from government of Walter Mzembi, husband to Miss Tourism Zimbabwe (MTZ) Trust patron Barbra, everything has completely gone quiet, spelling uncertainty over the pageant.
Former MTZ spokesperson Spencer Manyemba said he had not seen or heard from Mzembi since the time the license was cancelled.
“Right now only ZTA can give you an official comment on the pageant. About the Trust, I am not sure anymore because I have not seen Mrs Mzembi since then,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Mzembi were fruitless as her mobile phone went unanswered.
Miss Tourism Zimbabwe Trust and ZTA had for long been involved in a spat, believed to have been politically induced, which last month left the licensing authority’s boss Karikoga Kaseke threatening to revoke the rights.
A model, one of the 20 finalists who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there had been a communication breakdown between the trust and the models since the day the licence was withdrawn.
“We are not in touch with the trust. However, we want to know what happened to the $80 000 that was said to have been received from Treasury and if the preparations for the pageant were at an advanced stage, why did they cancel the event?” she asked.
The models said they also wanted to know about their fate after they had been selected among the best.
Mystery also surrounds Mzembi’s girl child projects that were pledged by the Miss Tourism Zimbabwe Trust at the Masquerade Ball Fundraising dinner on November 1.
People are questioning where the charity money could have gone.
At the ball, Mzembi told guests that they were dedicated to enriching the girl child.
“As Miss Tourism Zimbabwe, we are committed to playing a role, though it might be a small contribution to the bigger picture, in the upliftment of the girl child through sewing projects. In order to sustain these projects, we need assistance from both corporates and individuals,” she was quoted by our sister paper NewsDay to have said at the event then.
ZTA spokesperson Sugar Chagonda said he was not aware whether or not the funds from the charitable event would go to the expected projects.
“We do not know what the trust will do and we are no longer in contact with them so I cannot say anything on that issue,” Chagonda said.
He added that ZTA was in the process of searching for a new suitable partner to run the pageant and that a conclusive decision out of the submissions they had received would be made next year.
“We have not given the licence to anyone yet, although we have submissions so far but we will look at credibility before handing it to anyone,” he added, suggesting the 20 finalists selected this year were now out of the picture.
“There was nowhere we could have given it to someone to run it this year because they would want to come in with a new team and run things the way they deem fit,” he said.
Of late, politics has meddled deep with showbiz, in turn stalling progress when lines are crossed.