‘African countries must support each other’: Xasa

SOUTH African Tourism minister Tokozile Xasa on Wednesday expressed dismay at African countries not supporting each other and failing to vote Zimbabwe Tourism minister Walter Mzembi secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

Faith Zaba in Durban

Xasa told journalists at the Tourism Indaba in Durban that she was exasperated by the lack of unity on the continent, which saw some African countries vote for European candidates.

Mzembi lost narrowly last week in Spain to Georgia’s Zurab Polilakashvilli in a tightly contested UNWTO elections for Secretary General.

The Zimbabwe Tourism minister, whom Xasa described as the most senior and most experienced minister in the world, led the first round 11 to Georgia’s eight, but eventually lost in the second round after getting 15 votes, three short of his rival’s 18.

There are 33 member states in the UNWTO executive council, which constitute the electoral college, of which 10 are from Africa, Europe 10, Middle East three, South Asia two, Americas five and East Asia three.

Xasa accused Seychelles, which withdrew its candidate, Alain St. Ange just before the race for causing the confusion which contributed to Mzembi’s loss.

“But the unfortunate part is that of the five candidates, there was a second candidate from Africa. Which means the vote from Africa was divided into two,” she said.

In addition, Xasa said other Africa countries supported European candidates when the two already split the votes.
“I am trying to demonstrate something here. We won first round with flying colours. We got 11 and I can tell you that 11 was not constituted by the African countries,” she said.

“That I can tell you straight up, Minister Mzembi was number one with 11 votes and second candidate had eight, third seven and fourth three. I am not counting the fifth because just a day before the election, the second candidate had to be withdrawn by his country, Seychelles, as it had at first supported him. The damage had already been done.

Xasa added that: “The third aspect was technically when a person is given a space to withdraw in an executive council and yet he is not an executive member of the council. It hit so hard on Africa and the African Union. Do you think people will take us seriously? After that they didn’t.

“We won round one. The only black person was him and the rest were white. I am not trying to be racist but that is how the industry is transformed. And how Africa is perceived, it is either through us or through what we do or on colour lines. He was the only one. He had beaten all of them first round.

Xasa said if Africa had been united Mzembi would have won the elections.

“I am convinced that had we been more united we would have taken it. Sitting here I am convinced that we could have taken that because he is the longest serving minister of tourism that we have in the world. He has been serving in the executive council of the UNWTO. He has accumulated a lot of experience hence he is chairing the commission for Africa, which is the continental arm of that world tourism body,” she said.

Xasa alluded to racism playing a part at the elections at the United Nations organ.

Since its inception in 1975, it has not been run by an Africa and the continent had hoped to make history through Mzembi.

“What is being picked is just the country he comes from and gets supported for that,” Xasa said.

“Come second round we had just lumped all of them against us. We lost by three votes only. I think we tested them big time. So the current person who succeeded comes from a very small country called Georgia. He is only an ambassador of Georgia in Spain. He has not even been at the realm of tourism.”

Related Posts


  1. We are not bothered by politicians. What has mzembi done for zimbabwean tourism to deserve such a post? you just want him there because he is african? can you compare zimbabwe and seychelles in terms of tourism? which one is more advanced, has more visitors etc? even if they had brought the vote to zimbabwe, and the vote was free and fair, mzembi would not win! they are used to winning by rigging! just sh!t off your political high horse! we the povo are not bothered!

  2. if Walter cannot change policy within his nation, about issues which affect tourism in his own country esp the spike issue, road blocks, cynide issues how can he influence international policy?

  3. above comments sadly shows us how deep mental colonization has done to people. It shows you guys have not read the above article from SA minister. You ask what Mzembi has done? The winner is not even Tourism minister in his home country!!!! and you can safely ask what has he done for Georgia tourism? Only shallow minds think and make decisions based on domestic politics on such important matters. Izvi hazvisi zveZanu asi about Zimbabwe and Africa. Whites are very proud of their continent and countries. Shame on you guys for showing lack of mature analysis.

    1. We just support someone because he is an African, even if he is known thief….come on..We know a lot of businesses and farms which have been hijacked by this person. Even it was only Zimbabweans voting in an open and free election he would not have won

  4. Hazvina basa anything and anyone to do with zanu pf is failure.

  5. Xenophobia and other hate exhibits against fellow africans, though they can be traced squarely back to colonial dissipation, do not aid our cause in whatever fora. We want to support other africans onto world platforms but we don’t tolerate them or their presence in our own african countries. Mayors, cabinet ministers, sons of presidents and tribal kings all bark hate speeches against blacks from other african countries, countries which, like our own, were carved out and shaped by white colonialists. So white is super.

  6. Kana shungu naye, hanti ndi minister wa Bob?

  7. White man is a devil like it or not?

  8. He is selfish there for wakamama nyangwe mukati hee black chino sovereign black this and that mzembi chichi Shandisa cash yehurumende isina mari kutsvaga basa racho icho? Since when chichi funga vamwe. Chaiti chichabvako choita president

  9. It’s good he lost. They sold Zim elephants to China. For whose benefit? You must ask yourself why a fellow African would vote for an American ahead of a Zimbo. They are aware of what Mzembi and company have done to Zim,. They are pissed off.

Comments are closed.