Tourism: Racism is behind the candidacy of St. Ange for UNWTO says Mzembi of Zimbabwe
Racism is behind the candidacy of St. Ange for UNWTO says Mzembi of Zimbabwe
A bloc of Western countries is sponsoring a Seychelles candidate to rival Zimbabwe’s Dr Walter Mzembi and split the African vote ahead of elections to choose the new secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, it has emerged.
Dr Mzembi, who is also the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality, has been endorsed by the regional body Sadc and the 54-member African Union, but recently, Seychelles Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Alain St Ange ghosted into the race with the support of some powerful European countries to rival the Zimbabwean candidate.
Georgia and Brazil are the other two countries with candidates to replace incumbent Mr Taleb Rifai in May.
Dr Mzembi last week officially launched his bid in Madrid, Spain, where he posed a vision of change and progressiveness, sending panic among the “status quoists”.
In the past year, he has been on a major global diplomatic foray to boost his candidature.
In an interview on Tuesday Dr Mzembi said the emergence of the Seychelle’s candidate was both politically and racially motivated.
He said St Ange would play spoiler.
“There is absolutely no rationale,” he said of St Ange’s candidature.
“He is very conscious of the fact that we have 10 votes as Africa, and we are pitting these against 10 European votes, five votes from the Americas, five votes from South Asia and the Pacific and three votes from the Middle East to make a total of 33 votes.
“So, anyone who wants to get past us as Africa will try and split Africa’s bloc votes of 10. This is essentially what they are doing in this instance. This approach is a zero-sum game for Africans because whoever emerges should never hope to win, we will both lose,” said Dr Mzembi.
Dr Mzembi is disturbed by the racial underpinnings in propping St Ange.
“What we are confronted with, is our detractors competing with us for positions in multilateral systems, the United Nations itself included. It is a desire to exploit the ethnical make-up of Africa, which is made up of negroid Africa, white Africans and Afro-Asiatics,” he charged.
“It is a very painful experience having to be discriminated against because you are negroid and picking white African candidates to basically split the African consensus,” complained Dr Mzembi.
But Zimbabwe is not taking this lying down and has triggered diplomatic moves to stop St Ange in accordance to regional and continental consensus.
He said: “We have asked for a meeting with the Seychelles. I met the Minister of Tourism for Seychelles, who is the successor to this one who wants to contest against me. We have requested officially for a meeting with the president of the Seychelles because we suspect that he has not been furnished with all the facts.”
He said at the forthcoming African Union summit, Zimbabwe would seek to influence the continent into renouncing the candidature of St Ange.
“We are fighting to win and I am hoping that the African Union can show its teeth in the matter and restrain Member States,” he said.
“I will not allow my candidature to just pass like previous candidatures that are disturbed by Africans amongst themselves without the benefit of either a pre-emptive process or a post mortem.
“I want to use this as a very classic example on the AU’s binding decisions and how they can avoid willful violation going into the future,” he said.