The just ended UNWTO elections for the post of secretary-general reveal a lot of things, though I am going to highlight just a few important ones.
Africa’s only representative, Walter Mzembi, the tourism minister from Zimbabwe, lost the elections to the candidate from Georgia. He was close, but then his fears of losing were however confirmed beyond any doubt. His loss drew a mixed bag of reactions, some sympathising with him while others took to deride at him.
Mzembi had put up a spirited campaign to win this coveted post. He almost forgot he was Zimbabwe’s tourism minister due to the campaigns he launched in order to land the post, something he did for almost two years.
In as much as Mzembi, Africa and Zimbabwe would have wanted this post for the continent, it was just not to happen. The primary reason behind Mzembi’s loss is the image of Zimbabwe to the international community. Zimbabwe has been characterised by decades of Zanu PF’s misrule under Mugabe, something which also affected some tourists. Zimbabwe has been marred by gross and rampant violation of human rights, something which the West disgustingly hates.
So, the presence of Mzembi was mirroring this bad picture of Zimbabwe to the international community gathered for the elections. It was as if Mzmebi was an embodiment of such a bad Zimbabwe to some delegates. He suffered the wrongs of his party, ZANU PF. Because of this, we strongly feel that odds were stacked against him and there was no other way he could extricate himself from this quagmire. Thus, he lost. Not of his own making, but nonetheless he just lost.
He had come close to winning, but maybe it was this detestable representation of the African country called Zimbabwe that led the delegates to opt for a European candidate.