17 August 2017

Zimbabwe: Mzembi Appeals to Editors to Help Him Market Brand Zimbabwe to the World

Tourism minister Walter Mzembi has pleaded with the editors to assist him with marketing the country to the international community, a task he said he has failed to achieve because of Zimbabwe's tainted image.

Mzembi said this on Thursday in Harare while engaging with editors on his concerted Brand Zimbabwe initiative.

The minister was quick to announce that the country's bad governance history also made him lose the contest for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation's Secretary General position.

Mzembi narrowly lost the UNWTO top post to Georgian candidate in an election which was held in Madrid, Spain, early this year.

President Robert Mugabe's aide lost in the second round after an impressive first round of votes in which he won most of the 33 cast votes by scoring 11 with his Georgia counterpart on eight.

He became the second in the second round when the Georgian scored 18 votes against his 15 votes.

"No meeting (during his campaign) ever raised a tourism question to me but they were asking about governance, investment and immigration and a bit on exports and we are unable to this stage to sell the story about Zimbabwe despite being a constitutional democracy," Mzembi told the media.

The minister said the media should assist him rebuild the image of Zimbabwe through publicizing that "there is no dictatorship" in the Southern African country.

"We do not sell to the world the fact that religiously we hold elections every five years, and people out there think that there is dictatorship here under a constitutional democracy and yet there is an opposition that governs with us because they are part of the governance architecture," he said.

"Those are salient points you sell about your country because they are there and they are factual," Mzembi said.

Zimbabwe suffered image dent at the turn of the millennium after government had embarked on a controversial land redistribution programme.

The unplanned land reform programme which drove away former white commercial farmers from their properties without compensation was followed by a series of other anti-investment policies such as the indigenization laws.

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