DEPUTY Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Walter Kanhanga yesterday told Senate that some foreign participants to the just-ended Harare International Carnival attempted to smoke marijuana during the street parade.
Kanhanga disclosed this while answering to questions from senators during a question and answer session who queried if the event could be considered a good cultural event as some costumes were almost in birthday suits where some participants marched half naked.
MDC-T Masvingo senator Misheck Marava asked: “Minister, is it true that nakedness was exhibited in the streets and is it part of showcasing our culture?”
Kanhanga would neither refute nor confirm that there was exhibition of nudity as the event showcased customs of other countries that were comfortable with skimpy costumes.
“It is a yes or no answer. It is a yes in that in African culture we are not used to seeing people who are barely dressed, but we should take into cognisance that there were other countries with different cultures that were invited to showcase them at the carnival,” he said.
Kanhanga added: “Some of the countries like Brazil are used to the skimpy outfits, while some participants from Trinidad and Tobago almost smoked marijuana in the streets during the carnival.”
The deputy minister also apologised to chiefs in the Senate for not consulting them first for their input before the carnival was held.
The apology came after President of the Chiefs Council Fortune Charumbira demanded to know why they were not consulted as chiefs were the custodians of culture.
“I would like to apologise to our chiefs for not consulting them and I promise that in the future we will take heed of that,” he said.
Senator representing people living with disabilities, Anna Shiri, also asked Kanhanga to explain why tourist resort areas like the Victoria Falls and Great Zimbabwe Ruins did not have facilities for the disabled to ensure they also enjoyed the different sightseeing activities.
Kanhanga said such places where people have to climb high were world heritage sites and it was almost impossible to renovate them as it would destroy their original nature.
“However, we should look at the possibility of introducing electric cars to transport people with disabilities to enable them to also enjoy viewing the heritage sites from high points,” he said.
Meanwhile, the deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi said the murder of two farmers, Malcom Francis and his daughter Catherine in Guruve was being treated as any other murder case and not as an act that could disturb the tourism industry.