Miss Tourism Zimbabwe winners were last night set to receive their prizes, two months after the pageant was held, as the organisers kept shifting goalposts.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
The winners, queen Ashley Morgen and her two princesses, Nonhlanhla Dube (Miss Agro-Tourism) and Shirley-Ann Lindsay (Miss City Tourism), were set to receive their prizes at a function at Pabloz, at Sam Levy’s Village in Borrowdale, Harare.
Pageant spokesperson, Alison Darikayi sent out messages late yesterday afternoon inviting stakeholders to attend the prize giving ceremony.
“Our sincere apologies for the late invitation, our official prize-giving ceremony for Miss Tourism Zimbabwe 2016 is happening tonight, January 24, 2017 at Pabloz Restaurant,” read the message he sent out.
“We sincerely apologise for the late invitation.”
Morgen was set to receive $20 000 and a car, as well as $2 500 for being crowned Miss People’s Choice, while Dube and Lindsay were to receive $10 000 and $5 000, respectively.
The other finalists were also promised $1 000 each, as well as a year’s tuition at a college of their choice.
Earlier, Darikayi had confirmed that First Lady Grace Mugabe and the pageant’s anchor sponsor, South Africa-based business mogul, Justice Maphosa of Bigtime Strategic Group, had transferred all the money they had promised, despite the prize-giving ceremony being postponed three times already.
Several excuses had been given by the trust, raising doubts among stakeholders that the participants would get their dues.
At one point, Darikayi said they had to defer the handover ceremony to focus on the queen’s preparations for the Miss Tourism International, that was held on New Year’s Eve in Malaysia.
After that, he then promised that the ceremony was to be held upon the queen’s return from the Asian country, where she raised the country’s flag high, as she was among the top 10 finalists.
In an interview with NewsDay, Darikayi said the latest delay was caused by the absence of the pageant’s patron, Barbra Mzembi, who was accompanying her husband, Tourism minister Walter Mzembi, who was launching his campaign for the United Nations World Tourism Authority Organisation secretary-general post in Madrid, Spain.
“Everything is in order. We are set for the prize giving ceremony anytime this week,” Darikayi said earlier.
“It is only that our patron, Barbra Mzembi was not around, since she has to be there at the handover ceremony. We are expecting them back in the country today (yesterday).”
It was not clear at the time of going to print how they had managed to organise the awards hastily.