No UK reps at UNWTO General Assembly in Victoria Falls

Posted by Tererai Karimakwenda on Wednesday, August 7, 2013  | SW Radio Africa

The British government will not be sending any representatives to a global tourism conference sponsored by the United Nations, due to take place in Zimbabwe later this month, according to reports.

Over 500 diplomats and dignitaries from 150 countries will be attending the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) 20th General Assembly at Victoria Falls starting 26th August.

According to the Times UK newspaper, Britain has decided not send a single official to the conference, “despite hopes in Harare that the country would be welcomed back into the family of nations”.

Earlier this week the British government expressed serious concerns over the conduct of the harmonized elections that took place in Zimbabwe last week, acknowledging ballot rigging and fraud that are at the centre of a legal challenge being prepared by the MDC-T.

UNWTO Victoria Falls

UNWTO takes place in Victoria Falls from 24 August 2013

The Mugabe regime has been promoting UNWTO as part of efforts to promote its image on the global stage and boost tourism, which was once one of the key providers of foreign currency for Zimbabwe, before ZANU-PF’s chaotic land reform program and human rights abuses undermined the sector.

The London based Zimbabwe Vigil protest group welcomed the UK decision not to participate at the conference. Vigil spokesman Dennis Benton said they were afraid that the UK was so determined to re-establish relations with Mugabe that they would just accept this rigged election.

“We regard the conference as ludicrous and hypocritical when you consider what the Mugabe regime has done to the  (wildlife) conservancies in particular and to the general country as a whole. They have destroyed agriculture and with it a lot of the wildlife in the country has been endangered,” Benton explained.

Criticizing the U.N. Benton said: “Mugabe’s friends are people like the Russians, the Iranians and the Chinese. Every rogue regime in the world is behind Mugabe and these people still have a lot of influence with the United Nations. One must recognize that the rest of the world does not really know what is going in Zimbabwe.”

Benton added that the Mugabe regime devotes large sums of money and energy into promoting their version of what is going on in the country. He said part of the Vigil’s struggle over the years has been to expose them.

The U.N. has been criticized for choosing to hold the annual event in Zimbabwe, given the government’s failure to protect wildlife and evidence pointing to corrupt officials benefiting from illegal poaching and hunting activities.

The Zim authorities have gone to great lengths to bring this event to Victoria Falls, hoping that a spotlight on this key tourist attraction will boost the country’s profile.

They are also hoping that hosting a major U.N. conference will give the Mugabe regime some semblance of legitimacy and serve as a first step to re-engaging the international community of nations.

But last week’s disputed election has shifted the spotlight and the focus is now on a growing mountain of evidence supporting opposition claims that the poll was rigged and there are increasing allegations of retaliation by Mugabe’s supporters, on any one suspected of having supported the opposition.

via No UK reps at UN tourism meeting in Zim | SW Radio Africa.


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    The problem here is the hate of Mugabe by the west. They only thought a fair election is where the opposition wins. So instead of going to engange Mugabe they are shy because they were sponsoring an opposition party that has poor leadership that was looting cash to go and change women everyday while Mugabe was busy campaigning and asking zimbabweans what they really wanted in order to move foward. This was a best election and only an insane person can disagree. it was unfaìr to Mugabe because he did it under sunctions but you say nosense.

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    Its really hypocritic of you Mr Benton to paint a perception that UK Government is the UNWTO and as such without them there is no success. When will you learn that this is one such hypocritic comment that boggles the minds of many black Zimbabweans serve for those who lick your boots and see you as ‘masters of interllect’? To be honest to the fair minds, Mugabe can never be toppled through a democratic process, but through Westminster doctored regime change sting operation of the like of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, etc, which you will then coil ‘popular democracy’. Obviously, only fools ‘men of no velour’ ‘those who hate their skins’ will believe you.I suggest you should conduct those elections in UK and Australia and guess what, Tswangirai will obviously win against Cameron. Congrats…

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    reason 9 years ago

    The UK IS NO LONGER NECESSARY IN Zimbabwe’s affairs, the country’s absence at the WTO is a non event. UK is obsessed with Zimbabwe but they have long lost it. The choice of the opposition leader whom they sponsored was an insult to the highly literate population of Zimbabwe, and England failed to read between the lines. Mugabe is firmly in control because of London’s lack of strategy and poor selections of its puppets in Zimbabwe.

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    Who cares whether Britain is there or not…to hell with them

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    I agree with you, Britain is no longer a major player in Global events. It is currently regarded as a developed country by virtue of it being a permanent member of the Security Council. In really life UK is no longer Great. Very soon we will witness the collapse of this horrific Kingdom. It will therefore be good riddance if these barbarians do not come to spoil our Great Zimbambwe.

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    Guys well done you have at least told these people the truth and even some journalists who were in Zim during these elections they know the truth but they ignore it and look for negatives to please their masters wake up Brits Zimbos read it better come for lessons. Icho. Mugabe hoyeee.

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    Why did ZEC refuse to give other parties the voters roll and only gave them a few hours before the elections? Why is it that in some constituencies there are more voters than what the national censors claimed? Why did some Zanupf candidates like Gumbo of Gwanda transport strangely and “newly registered” supporters to polling stations? After voting they disappeared into thin air! Why do other people like Lindiwe Moyo appear several times on the voters roll? Why did the police and everyone ignore cries by other parties that Simon Khaya Moyo was barring others to campaign in Bulilimamagwe????? Why did SADC renege on their Maputo Resolution? Certainly the British cant just fool every body. There is evidence that the elections were held in a typical dictatorial culture of Zanupf. Beneficiaries of the regime who are employed to write the defenses of the now exposed Zanupf can say whatever. They will not convince those who are free to judge without being starved and then be given some rice just before they are ordered to vote. True the British have no role in Zimbabwe but Zimbabweans who do not benefit from Zanupf and are indeed its victims have a right to tell the world the truth just as we told the world about Ian Smith during the struggle for independence.

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    Duncan Griffiths 9 years ago

    Looking at most of the comments above I have reached the conclusion that people really have delusions of grandeur re Zimbabwe, Mugabe, etc. Truth is in Britain we have have more important issues to address than the mess that is Zimbabwe. If the Zimbabweans do not have the will or fight to oust Mugabe either through voting or passive overthrow vis a vis Tunisia, Egypt etc then don’t expect anyone else to do your work for you. If SADC are happy with the elections who are we to contradict them? But don’t expect us to waste our time and money on this latest Trade non event (in the past nothing has ever happened anyway as far as Africa is concerned)
    I don’t mean any ill will for Zimbabwe or Africa for that matter but most of us here don’t give a toss.

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    thank u britian,,votes were stolen.period