Youths bussed for Miss Tourism Zimbabwe


ORGANISERS of the recently held Miss Tourism Zimbabwe (MTZ) have been accused of bussing school pupils and Zanu PF youths to fill up the Harare International Conference Centre, as First Lady Grace Mugabe, the Zanu PF women’s league boss, was the guest of honour.


Sources privy to the development told NewsDay that the move was meant to please the First Lady after the organisers only managed to sell a few tickets.

“After tickets failed to sell, the pageant organisers, working with some top Zanu PF officials aligned to the G40 faction, mobilised youths from different parts of the country and about 400 pupils from different schools in Harare to fill up the venue, so that the First Lady would not attend a pageant in an empty venue,” the source said.

“When they realised that the figures from the ticket sales were disappointing they tried to sell the tickets on a buy one and get one free promotion, but still the numbers did not improve, thus, they came up with the idea of crowd hiring.”

The pageant’s spokesperson, Alson Darikayi, dismissed the allegations, but said the school pupils were paid for by MTZ anchor sponsor, a South Africa-based Zimbabwean businessman, Justice Maphosa.

“The allegations that we bussed youths are unsupported that was not a hired crowd. The arrangement of bringing the school children was made after our anchor sponsor, who requested to have them at the event in case some would qualify to participate in our next edition, so that they can have a feel of the pageant,” he said.

Darikayi said 300 tickets were distributed to schools by junior parliamentarians through Moses Mbimbi.

Tourism and Hospitality minister Walter Mzembi went into overdrive, as he showered praises on President Robert Mugabe at the event.

“I want to thank the Almighty God, who purposed this event for this time that we celebrate the girl child, but also go further to celebrate one man, who may not be in this room. I want to think that he is watching from home and this is my own boss, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe,” he said.

Meanwhile, there is nasty fallout between the MTZ organisers and some local designers, who dressed the models, who accused the latter of failing to pay them as per agreement.

Darikayi could neither confirm nor deny that some designers were yet to be paid, saying they had engaged them, as a way of giving them exposure to showcase their designs at such a big pageant, not to make money.

“Our arrangement with these designers was that we pay them two weeks before the event and we did that, but there are some designers who later felt that they must get more than the initially agreed fee and they demanded the money on the day of the pageant,” he said.


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