The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) last week made a shocking announcement that controversial businessman Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure would be the new face of the Harare International Carnival (HIC) for the next three years.
By StYLE Reporter
ZTA revealed the news on Tuesday at a press briefing where they also postponed the annual arts and culture festival indefinitely for the third time this year.
“He is the face of the carnival not only this year, but for the coming three years, so he is the carnival brand ambassador and we have considered a lot of other celebrities, but we think he is right for the post,” said ZTA chief executive Karikoga Kaseke.
Apart from reading out a somewhat unconvincing justification for awarding the ambassadorial role to Ginimbi, Kaseke also took time to shower the businessman with praises for his wealth, including declaring that his night joint “Club Sankayi is the most popular club that we have ever had in Harare since independence”.
“We did not approve him more because he is a businessman, but because he is a socialite,” Kaseke said.
But, despite having met with the ZTA representative at his home for a briefing, Ginimbi appeared uncertain why he had been chosen when he took to the podium during the presser.
“I didn’t know what’s going on when they told me you are now the carnival brand ambassador.
I came here to basically get told and I did not even know there is a certificate,” he told the press, while ironically bragging that he was up for the task.
“I’m sure for him [Kaseke] to choose me they could not find the right candidate except me.”
However, that is realistically far from the truth and some critics have raised concerns over his suitability to take up the role, which in the past has been given to Miss Tourism queens.
Firstly, the globetrotting businessman has a pending court case where he is being accused of fraud and giving him such a national assignment when he is not yet off the hook is risky.
Had it been a social media popularity contest, perhaps the ZTA would have settled for Pokello Nare who has more followers than Ginimbi by far on all platforms combined.
The self-proclaimed “queen of swag” would have also buried Kadungure if appearance was part of the qualities.
Perhaps his wealth was irresistible to the HIC organisers, but if that’s the case they could have tried other businesspeople like Justice Maphosa of Bigtime Strategic Group who sponsored the whole event last year.
There is no doubt that Kadungure has built a reputation in the entertainment promotion business of late, but his downsides seem to outweigh the gamble ZTA has taken through this individual appointment.
Ginimbi just strikes many as a boastful man stained by a lot of social baggage to be an effective brand ambassador.
At a time when the fiesta’s good reputation is already dented by a series of postponements owing to many reasons, among them the recent cholera outbreak, there is an understandable thirst for a face to revive the brand, but engaging Ginimbi appears like ZTA’s classic case of drinking from a poisoned chalice.