THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) CEO, Karikoga Kaseke, has blasted former Tourism minister Walter Mzembi, describing him as a thick headed minister “who lacked vision and strategy to grow the tourism sector”.
Kaseke made these remarks while addressing media on the side lines of a national tourism sector strategy consultative workshop held in Mutare recently.
“People are vocal as to why we failed to have sector strategy after 37 years. The answer I am giving them is government did not provide leadership. Why? The minister who was there Mzembi who was supposed to give leadership that was necessary was not concentrating on providing leadership.
“Whatever he was doing, he was doing it for his personal glory. He did not provide leadership,” said Kaseke.
The ZTA boss heaped praises on the new tourism minister Priscilla Mpfumira, saying “she knows what she is doing”.
“A minister who knows what he is doing would do what the current minister is doing. She knew about sector strategy through her advisors. She directed we have a sector strategy but through wider consultations,” said Kaseke.
He said minister Mpfumira has focus on the future not on the past.
Kaseke said Muzembi had no vision and sector strategy.
“There has been no vision and sector strategy at all. Muzembi came with his 5-5-15-2020. It’s not a vision but 5 is a target and another 5 a target. Targets can only be strategic objectives. Basically I am saying there was no vision,” said Kaseke.
He said Mzembi’s $5 billion tourism sector by 2020 was not achievable given the environment he was operating in.
“The sector asked me how this was achievable. I didn’t want to be said I was an advisor where we are talking of person who did not want to be advised.
“It is true former minister could not be advised. So his 5-5-15-2020 is not, and has not been a vision and it can’t be said to be a vision,” said Kaseke.
He said Muzembi misled the sector about his five million tourists’ arrival figure in the country, describing it as unrealistic.
“We are simply saying the figures he gave of about five million arrivals given the environment he was operating in were unrealistic for a target.
“Now it is achievable because government has done quite a lot and it is no longer business as usual. I don’t have anything against the former minister,” said Kaseke.
He said it was unfortunate that everything Mzembi did was for “personal glory”.
Kaseke also said there were some people in government who were resisting the new narrative and warned that such elements should either reform or leave.
“We still have people who are resisting new narrative, people who are resisting new thinking, people living in the old era hoping the miracle will happen and the gone will come back,” said Kaseke, adding,” people must change ways of doing things because we are in a new dispensation”.