Chamisa adds voice to Mzembi candidature at UNWTO

Lovemore Lubinda

The second vice-president of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) Party Nelson Chamisa has thrown his weight at minister of Tourism, Walter Mzembi’s bid for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) post scheduled for May this year.

The nation at large should support Mzembi’s campaign to land the WTO post. Said Chamisa in Zimbabwe Parliament recently, “It is the nation at large we are talking about. We should support the nation at large and not political partisanship,”

“Whoever is good for the nation is good for all of us. It’s not about political parties but it is about the nation,” added Chamisa.

Mzembi is both the AU and SADC endorsed candidate for the WTO which will be contested on May 11 this year.  He will be competing against other candidates from South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Georgia and the Seychelles.

Thirty three countries will vote on behalf of the 160 member body. Ten votes will be allocated to Africa out of the 33 votes, ten to Europe, five to Americas, Five to South Asia and the Pacific and three votes to the Middle East.

“So far, my chances are above average and I think that I am the guy to beat in this election judging by the character of the elective field as it stands now,” said Mzembi responding to questions asked to him in Parliament about his campaign for the post so far.

Mzembi said the benefits that will accrue to Zimbabwe will be related to brand recognition, “Zimbabwe is the country that is sponsoring me in the same manner that you associated the tenure of Ban ki Moon during the time that he was United Nations Secretary General with South Korea. And in the same tenure of Kofi Annan, when he was Secretary General for the United Nations to Ghana,”

“It is the same brand recognition and nexus that will bring brand Zimbabwe to the fore of global geopolitics and international diplomacy through my deployment,” said Zimbabwe’s Tourism and Hospitality Minister.

The UNWTO is one of 17 specialized agencies of the United Nations. It oversees the administration of tourism sector, now the third global export earner at 1.5 trillion income per annum and contributes 8 trillion gross  domestic product globally.

Tourism has become one of the world’s largest and fastest growing industries in the world. According to Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (Zimstat), the country has experienced growth in the sector as evidenced by the increase in the number of international arrivals from 1.2 million in 2009 to 2.1 in 2015.

The sector’s good performance has been attributed to the vigorous marketing by the ministry of Tourism and Hospitality in partnership with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority as a safe and unique destination to the world.

If Mzembi succeeds, he will be the successor to Taleb Rifai the current UNWTO SG who was born in Jordan, and currently based in Spain, who has been at the helm of this organization since 2010.