Mzembi, stop bootlicking

via Mzembi, stop bootlicking – DailyNews Live  16 MARCH 2014

During the inclusive government era, Tourism minister Walter Mzembi was one of the most illustrious Cabinet members, and this was epitomised by the successful hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly last year.

However, since his re-appointment to the Tourism portfolio after last year’s elections, Mzembi has decided to join the bandwagon of President Robert Mugabe’s praise singers instead of focusing his energies on developing the sector.

Last year, he cried on seeing the picture of a young Mugabe, all in a bid to make the president believe Mzembi cares for him. Yesterday Mugabe disclosed that Mzembi had arranged the honeymoon for Bona and her husband, Simba Chikore.

This comes two weeks after Mzembi was seen grovelling, as a way of bootlicking Mugabe at Chikore’s bachelor’s party.

Now that the European Union has eased its sanctions and removed most of the travel bans and restrictions on Zimbabwe, there is no reason why our tourism sector should not return to it’s glory days.

In the 1990s tourism was one of the largest contributors to Zimbabwe’s Gross Domestic Product and the situation only changed at the turn of the millennium when the country was placed under sanctions by the West due to its appalling human rights record.

A lot has changed since then and we now expect Mzembi to refrain from bootlicking the-powers-that-be and instead, sing another chorus of marketing the country vigorously as a safe and preferred tourism destination.

Zimbabwe is endowed with a unique geography, that includes the beautiful mountain ranges in Manicaland, the Victoria Falls, a host of national parks filled with millions of flora and fauna and the Great Zimbabwe. The country boasts of a good climate while the tourism resorts and accommodation compare with the best. Gifted with these exceptional tourism attractions, the sector should be thriving.

If only the minister could get his priorities right, Zimbabwe would be in a better position to attract over five million tourists annually compared to the 1,8 million that we have been receiving in the past few years.

Although Mzembi can argue that he is not getting enough money from Treasury to implement effective marketing strategies, he has simply run out of ideas.

Should the money be availed to him today, it’s unlikely that we would see any significant changes in the sector. Perhaps, he is now gratified that he brought the UNWTO general assembly to this part of the world, but that is not enough. More is expected more from you.

Tourism has the capacity to employ thousands through appropriate and comprehensive policies needed to attract tourists into the country to spend a week or so here.

Attracting high spending tourists into Zimbabwe would not only ease the liquidity crunch we are facing but would also go a long way in reducing the over 90 percent unemployment rate in the country.

Crucially, Mzembi has failed to introduce a simplified visa regime to assist tourists into Zimbabwe.

In a technologically-advanced world, most countries, in Africa and elsewhere, have very simplified visa regimes as a way of encouraging more visitors into their territories.

Despite him ranting about crafting a National Tourism Growth Strategy Vision 2020 aimed at boosting tourists’ receipts to over $5 billion in six years, the minister has failed to protect the industry from punitive duties imposed on tourism players by government last year.

Zimbabwe last year introduced a 15 percent value added tax on foreign receipts, a move tourism operators say is making the country an expensive destination.

Such a development is not only a setback for an industry slowly climbing out of a decade-long recession but will also hinder the travel and tourism sector’s drive to increase visitor arrivals and thereby increase foreign currency earnings by the sector.

Already, tourist arrivals from South Africa are on the decline following the weakening of the rand against the US dollar and the increased value added tax on non-resident guests will worsen the situation.

Instead of focusing on protecting and growing the industry, Mzembi is now focusing on venturing into diamond and gold mining — businesses that are totally divorced from his mandate.



  • comment-avatar
    Roving Ambassador 8 years ago


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    John Thomas 8 years ago

    Anybody been through Beit Bridge recently? It is bad. A more calculated discouragement to tourist could not be easily done. Harare airport is also becoming peculiar with some officials being very creative as to what fees need to be paid.

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      Yep! Beit bridge is a national disgrace. Maybe Mr Mzembi can go and fix that mess. It most certainly puts of visitors.

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    Saddened 8 years ago

    The writer makes some good points however it’s not only about the Minister when the country is generally in a dreadful state & not geared to receive large numbers of tourists. There is so much to be done to bring the country back to a decent state that to say that there is no reason that we cannot get back to the glory days is not reasonable.

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    munzwa 8 years ago

    yes focus on the immigration officials and the police at the many, many roadblocks that also have this mindset of fleecing(taxing!!)anyone they can…

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    Gomogranny 8 years ago

    Mzembi and ZTA are a perfect reflection of the state of the nation. Those in positions of authority are totally unconcerned with those grinding away at the coal face. Tourism can be dragged up only when the efforts and ideas of those doughty survivors ( often responsible for the return visitors we do currently have) are recognised and brought into the recovery effort.

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    Mseyamwa 8 years ago

    The growth of tourism is not only hinged on Muzembi’s marketing but on the overall state of the nation. We live in a country where basic amenities are not always available. We are trying to lure people from countries that never experience black outs and dry taps. They always have multiple channels of communication with friends and family left home or even to conduct business where ever they are. Is that possible from all parts if Zimbabwe or a persons, once in, will only be seen again when they come out of the black hole. We need general upgrading of all infrastructure to reduce the inconveniences that visitors are likely to experience if they come now. A good start would be transportation & communication networks which allow for greater flexibility; electricity which is the power behind technology and even greater innovation and steady flows of water – at affordable prices.

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    The Truth. 8 years ago

    Mthwakazi is a tourist attraction. The Victoria Falls is central to Mthwakazi as a tourist Jewel!!

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    Johnny k 8 years ago

    Ask any foreign registered vehicle the bribes and hassles they experience at the hands of the corrupt and money hungry ZRP at roadblocks. It is an expensive nightmare just to drive through Zimbabwe for a South African driver. It would cost nothing to give drivers a pamphlet with a hotline number to telephone when they are forced to pay out exorbitant bribes at roadblocks.

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    Fallenz 8 years ago

    Midnight crossing at Beit Bridge, even on a Citiliner is near nightmare. Flying into BUQ is easier, but Zim government providing little reason to holiday there… in fact, except for lip service, it is discouraging.

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    notwithstanding the above article, Mr Mzembi has failed to intervene when wildlife sanctuaries are invaded and polish tourists are dragged out of their lodges at 12 pm and told to get out invaders invading safari lodge, even though the owners have valid high court judgement ruling in their favour that they legal occupants????????What do these tourists tell their fellow countrymen(maybe don’t go to Zim????????on the same night staff working for the company beaten, their wives and 18 month old also beaten? Zrp supported this invasion as minister home affairs wants property although he and his family taken 3 farms already, this is Zimbabwe year 2013, blessed with abundant resources, tourist attractions, skilled and talented and 95% peace loving people??????Happened 50km from beit bridge on Bulawayo road?????Beit bridge town being run like a mafia and 10 000us worth stolen from same lodge and with complicit support of mafia run zrp?????Yes tourism flourishing in Zimbabwe and soooooo much potential