Mzembi, war vets on warpath over Victoria Falls

via Mzembi, war vets on warpath over Vic Falls – Southern Eye by Richard Muponde 19 December 2013

TOURISM and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi has set himself on a collision course with his Zanu PF colleagues and war veterans by declaring that talk of a Victoria Falls name change was “much ado about nothing”.

Mzembi, who was involved in marketing and lobbying for Victoria Falls to successfully host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly in August, instead said efforts should be made to declare the resort town a special zone and interrogate why it was generating little revenue for the country.

Mzembi posted on his Twitter account saying the tourist resort was currently bringing nothing to Zimbabwe and Zambia compared to what the Niagara Falls and Iguazu Falls did for Canada and Brazil respectively.

Zanu PF resolved at its just-ended annual national conference in Chinhoyi at the weekend that Victoria Falls and several other institutions be renamed after the country’s liberation war heroes.

The Zanu PF committee on sports, culture, religion and liberation heritage chairperson Ignatius Chombo said it did not make any sense for colonial names to remain in place in an independent Zimbabwe.

The proposal to rename Victoria Falls has attracted mixed reactions from tourism players with some raising fears that a name change could make the resort town unpopular and affect tourism.

Mzembi said if it was important to change Victoria Falls’ name, then the process should start by “scrapping our names which are unAfrican”.

“It’s already double barrel: Mosi Oa Tunya, like many of us Africans with both. If it was so important, we would first scrap our English, French, Latin, German and in some instances Boer names to African. In any event this is a shared heritage between us and the Zambians and if they chose to stick to Vic Falls, is Mosi Oa Tunya Zimbabwean?”

He said focus should be on how Victoria Falls could be a cash cow for the country by declaring it a special zone instead of talking of name change.

“And finally there is a Cabinet committee on name changes and honours. When it gets to that, it will exhaust the merits and demerits. Focus on Victoria Falls benchmarking against Niagara and Igauzu falls. Interrogate why it makes so little for us. Focus on Niagara $30 billion for Canada and the United States. Mosi Oa Tunya $? for Zimbabwe and Zambia. South Africa makes more out of it, shame (sic),” said Mzembi.

Mzembi even added a Bible verse to buttress his views.

“Isaiah 60:11 — Keep thy gates open. Do not shut them day and night, so you may enjoy the wealth of the Gentiles . . . God gives wealth in generations. We held UNWTO general assembly there (Victoria Falls) to raise awareness to this. Declare Victoria Falls a special zone now,” Mzembi said.

He said there was need to focus on growing domestic tourism.

“Zimbabwe’s middle class is in orbit in the Diaspora. We need to tap into this market which is an extension of domestic tourism. Whenever the Diaspora visits, they take at least two local family members to resorts. We need to incentivise them to do more. Low cost/budget holiday back at home campaigns through a rebranded Air Zimbabwe is one option. London, US, SA, Australia etc,” said Mzembi.


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15 comments on “Mzembi, war vets on warpath over Victoria Falls
  1. Kuakwa Katiyo says:

    I don’t quite understand how declaring Vic Falls a special zone translates into visits. As for diaspora visits I don’t know about others but I can’t see myself visiting Murambinda and taking a few relatives to Vic when there are so many others pressing needs for the money. If my family were well off I would still be better off donating the money to buy beds for Impilo Hospital (my birth place) than going to Vic Falls. Word of mouth is always the best marketing tool, the minister should be pushing for many conferences and conventions in Vic Falls. Conference participants tend to come back with family and friends and will spread word about the place. His ministry could also (if they are already not doing so) partner with hotels in the region for arranged tours of the falls for their delegates to their conferences. That is, participants to a conference in Botswana or Johannesburg have opportunity for a flight to Vic Falls at very low prices. Basically these would be unsold flight seats creating a win-win-win situation for airlines, the conference participants and Tourism ministry.

    • spiralx says:

      Re your last point, providing lo-rate excursions to Vic Falls, the Byo Publicity Association tried to implement this for the last few big Byo conferences, only to turned down flat by this same Walter Mzembi.

  2. Mr Mixed Race says:

    Minister Mzembi your approach will not succeed as long as our war vets are allowed to act above the country’s laws.Jabulani Sibanda will walk there and force the guests in the hotels at V Falls and tell them to shout the new name he wants with total impunity.What are you going to do about it?All the hard work you have done so far has just gone to waste.Check the new statistics for visitors arrival at V Falls.

  3. george shava says:


  4. Peter tosh says:

    Once u change the name, I will not visit that place again. These are not human beings but all baboons. Change your names first you monkeys!

  5. Puffed up arrogant laughable pipedream mzembi

  6. Rukweza says:

    Remember’mosi oa tunya’is the name for native tribe not shona,as you are aware that the present zimbabwe is a creation of whites,so the name of original local people and their input should be considered first not shona or ndebele people,but nambya&tonga

    • Richard Kuzviwanza says:

      Yes the locals should be consulted in any change of name But what is in a name anyway? Walter Mzembi is certainly right. Lets first market the country as is and then start changing names. My surprise is that most people in Zimbabwe are still naming their children and grandchildren some English/Irish/Russian/etc names. I have never liked my Irish name, but its expensive to change it. Should we name change Zimbabwe Ruins or Khami Ruins!
      Walter Mzembi….keep up the good work. Tourism is the best marketing strategy for any country. We love our country.

      • spiralx says:

        The names may be older than 1980, but they are well-known, and easy to reference for tourists from overseas. This name-change game is easy to play, and populist, but it leaves the underlying reality unchanged. And more obscure to outsiders.

  7. Murimi wanhasi says:

    Spot on Rukweza.If ever a name change,then let it be Tonga or Nambiya.
    But I can assure you that name changing is not on the top of our govt’s agenda.
    The minister’s reaction shows that in Zanu pf people are free to air their views.

  8. Johnx says:

    Its costly to market a new name. Moreover its very costly to change one and market it. The Chinhoyi conference shows we lack leaders with leadership qualities in this country. How can we change vic falls? To what do we have a word to replace falls that we can market. The head of state should change his names first. Robert i dont know but for Gabriel i suggest he choose from our shona religious messengers eg Chaminuka, sekuru Kaguvi, mbuya nehanda etc.

    • NBS says:

      Herein lies Zimbabwe’s problem. we a tearing each other to pieces over a name change, that in the bigger picture, means very little. People are starving, the economy is imploding, the country is rotten with corruption, bitterness is eating us like a cancer and we are bickering over a name change. May God help us!

  9. NBS says:

    Herein lies Zimbabwe’s problem. we a tearing each other to pieces over a name change, that in the bigger picture, means very little. People are starving, the economy is imploding, the country is rotten with corruption, bitterness is eating us like a cancer and we are bickering over a name change. May God help us!

  10. Child of God says:

    This is madness. The country is crippled and broken. Thousands of people have no jobs and not enough food. Industry has ground to a halt, the banks can not supply enough cash to the people that want to draw their money, and this is what our government has focused on!? Do not quote verses from the Bible to try and achieve your own desires.

  11. Kuakwa Katiyo says:

    Merits or demerits of name change not withstanding it was not zpf’s business to be discussing name changes. That is govt business. Zpf and mugabe have never been able to properly separate and focus on party and state affairs. Its testimony of lack of mugabe’s leadership for his party to be making resolutions that do not belong to party.

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