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Ban Ki-Moon to visit Zimbabwe


United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon is expected in the country soon to assess political conditions ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly to be co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in 2013.

Although the major reason behind his visit is tourism-related, Ban is expected to deal with political violence currently besieging the country.

There has been an upsurge of violence in the country mainly between Zanu PF and MDC-T activists, while Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party has had its rallies scuttled by the police.

Tourism secretary Sylvester Maunganidze confirmed Ban was headed for Zimbabwe although he was yet to receive his itinerary.

He is, however, expected to sign the Tourism Golden Book with President Robert Mugabe and Zambia’s Michael Sata.

“Indications are that he will be here between December and February although we haven’t confirmed when.

It is, however, a fact, that the secretary-general signs the Tourism Golden book with the host President of the general assembly, so in principle, he will be coming,” said Maunganidze.

“We may get a clearer picture during the UNWTO workshop to be held in Victoria Falls between the 4th and 9th of December this year, where we are expecting two UNWTO directors to come from Madrid (Spain). They are likely to give us his itinerary then.”

Maunganidze said in preparation for the general assembly to be attended by an estimated 3 000 guests, the government would build a conference centre in the country’s premier tourism resort town of Victoria Falls — venue for the historic event.

He said infrastructure in the resort town would also be upgraded, including the airport, to handle increased traffic. The opening ceremony of the general assembly will be staged in Zimbabwe and the closing one, in Zambia.

Meanwhile, police on Wednesday raided a Harare Hotel and arrested several workers of the British charity organization Oxfam, including 10 foreigners.
According to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the workers were held for four hours and later released.

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