Updated: AU boost for Mzembi

Source: Updated: AU boost for Mzembi | The Herald July 15, 2016

From Isdore Guvamombe in KIGALI, Rwanda
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Dr Walter Mzembi’s bid to win Africa’s endorsement as the continent’s sole candidate for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation secretary-general’s post yesterday got a boost when he successfully deposited his bid, before the African Union committee on candidature and international posting, unchallenged.

Dr Mzembi, a long-serving tourism minister after his appointment by President Mugabe in 2009 and UNWTO chair of the African Commission, deposited the bid unchallenged. The AU committee on candidature, chaired by Angolan Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Manuel Augusto, invited Dr Mzembi to present his credentials and justify his wish to lead the world’s top tourism body and has now recommended Dr Mzembi’s candidature to the AU Summit of Heads of States and Government underway here, for final endorsement.

Once endorsed — which is likely given that there is no other challenger from the continent — Dr Mzembi officially becomes Africa’s sole candidate to the UNWTO top post.

Dr Mzembi will them have to face candidates from other regions in an election scheduled for May 2017.

During presentation of credentials, Dr Mzembi, with unparalleled eloquence, said he was seeking Africa’s endorsement after Zimbabwe and Sadc endorsed him as the regional candidate.

“As you will be aware, the UNWTO that we are seeking endorsement is one of the 17 Specialised agencies of the UN family.

“Since the inception of the organisation in 1975, no African has held the position of secretary-general. Europe has held it three times, the Americas once and the Middle East once.

“As you will appreciate securing the post of UNWTO secretary-general involves a highly competitive electoral process, requiring regional and continental endorsement,” said Dr Mzembi.

Other candidates for the post will be officially known in October when the UNWTO nomination court sits in October, in Egypt.

The UNWTO secretary-general’s post falls vacant next year when the incumbent, former Jordian Minister of Finance Dr Taleb Rifai’s term expires.

There is general consensus that it is now time for Africa, since the continent has never had a chance in the organisation’s 41-year history.