THE country’s tourism sector is lagging behind because of many years of isolation and former president Robert Mugabe’s “look east policy” and his “all-weather friends” mantra, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive Karikoga Kaseke said.
He also said the ‘Look East Policy’ and ‘All Weather Friends’ did not benefit Zimbabwe in any way. Kaseke said, thanks to God sent President Emmerson Mnangagwa who clearly told the Chinese that Zimbabwe is looking for comprehensive partnerships, changes were now visible.
Mnangagwa recently led a business delegation and government officials to China to sell his ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ tune.
“The Chinese were surprised with how President Mnangagwa articulated issues to do with this country in the new dispensation when he clearly told the Asians that they must forget about all-weather friendship chants but think of all inclusive corporations,” said Kaseke.
He went to say that Zimbabweans need to thank God for giving them a new President in Mnangagwa because he had seen that the country and its people had suffered from long from isolation all because of one man-Robert Mugabe.
The former president had been leader of his country for 37 years and was toppled last year through a military coup which was overwhelmingly supported by ordinary people.
Briefing and updating journalists about their recent trip to China, Kaseke said he has also seen the difference between the two presidents on how to lead and do business.
“I think the President should be in business than in government as he surprised many Chinese with the way he articulated his Zimbabwe is open for business refrain,” said the ZTA boss.
“He spokes like a chief executive officer of a company, I think God knows what to do for people who have suffered for so long.
“He gave us this President and I think we, in quasi -government sectors, it’s a blessing from God to have a man who is of his calibre.”
He had no kind words for Mugabe.
“Just imagine in the previous Mugabe regime all what we had was about all-weather friends even where there was no weather, but all-weather friends,” he said.
“I heard him personally challenging this notion of being all-weather friends and as a business person he talked of comprehensive partnerships rather than all-weather friendship.”
Kaseke added, “He (ED) said our people will benefit from economic ties not the weather friendship and he advocated to move away from this notion to a level that will reflect that our relationships with China are economic.”
The ZTA boss went on to say during their tour he never heard Mnangagwa talking about the Look East Policy.
“That is what we used to hear in the previous dispensation, but all that is gone, because even the Chinese complained to us that we are not visible in their country despite them being all-weather friends, so you can really see what I mean.”