12 October 2017

Zimbabwe: We Don't Need Foreign Poll Experts - Mzembi

Photo: The Herald
Minister Walter Mzembi (file photo).

Zimbabwe does not need foreign experts to conduct the 2018 general elections as it has capable people to deliver credible polls, newly appointed Foreign Affairs Minister Walter Mzembi has said. He said during his stint as Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, he had assisted several countries during the United Nations World Tourism Organisation conference held in Victoria Falls to conduct credible polls given Harare's background of holding free and fair elections.

Minister Mzembi said this yesterday in the National Assembly during question and answer session. Harare Central MP Mr Murisi Zwizwai (MDC-T) had asked Minister Mzembi what he had in his sleeves to ensure that the country hold elections that would not be disputed but endorsed by the international community.

"Let us not look forward to these organisations for guidance. Zimbabwe has the best expertise in conducting credible elections. This is evidenced by how our elections have been held in the past," said Minister Mzembi. If there was any dispute, said Minister Mzembi, his role was to call warring parties for dialogue. He said the UNWTO conference in Victoria Falls requested him to explain to them how democratic elections were held in a show of confidence on Zimbabwe's electoral process.

"The ruling Government upon being elected in 2013, the first body to congratulate us was the United Nations through the then secretary general Mr Ban Ki Moon and it happened during the UNWTO conference and all other countries in attendance congratulated Zimbabwe, we hope going forward to maintain that momentum," he said.

Turning to his new role as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister Mzembi said: "This job was given the right person to continue moving the foreign policy of the country." Minister Mzembi said he was robbed of an election victory for the UNWTO secretary general post where Georgian candidate Mr Zurab Pololikashvilli was declared as winner. "I want to say to Honourable Zwizwai that as I stand here I am a reflection of a person akabirwa election. I was in China recently for the confirmation of the UNWTO secretary general where there was supposed to be a confirmation through secret ballot where the winner was supposed to have Two Thirds. We spent two days quarrelling on whether to confirm by secret ballot or not," said Minister Mzembi.

Minister Mzembi was the African Union candidate for the UNWTO secretary-general post and led the first round with 11 votes, followed by Mr Pololikashvilli (8), Mr Márcio Favilla of Brazil (4), Colombia's Mr Jaime Alberto Cabal Sanclemente (3), while the only female candidate, Republic of Korea Ambassador Young-Shim Dho, got seven. Although leading by three votes in the first round, Minister Mzembi failed to garner 17 mandatory votes required to give him an outright majority and avoid the second round.

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