ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive Karikoga Kaseke last week said he regretted giving Miss Tourism Zimbabwe (MTZ) pageant licence to Barbara Mzembi as that has brought conflict.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
Kaseke told a Press conference in Harare last week that he was taken to task by the ZTA board for issuing the licence to Mzembi, who is the wife of former Tourism and Hospitality minister Walter Mzembi.
“We have discussed this at board level and the board blasted me for issuing the licence to Mrs Mzembi saying why did you do that, didn’t you see conflict, I had not seen conflict until conflict showed itself,” he said.
Kaseke said Mzembi was initially appointed Miss Carnival patron in 2015 as an honour to her husband before she approached them with the proposal to run MTZ, saying it becomes more meaningful if she runs the pageant whose queen would then lead the Carnival.
Kaseke said they granted her request because the authority had stopped running the pageant.
He said Mzembi then applied for the licence, which ZTA granted.
“It could have been anyone else as [because] we did not consider her as the minister’s wife, but we considered her as, maybe, fulfilling the long-term requirement that someone from the private sector or a private organisation should run Miss Tourism Zimbabwe,” he said.
Kaseke said Mzembi subsequently registered the Miss Tourism Zimbabwe Trust to run Miss Tourism Zimbabwe and she set up the team that organised the pageant last year.
“And they did very well and this year she set up a new team, because some of the team members are now working for Big Time Strategic,” he said.
Kaseke insisted ZTA no longer had anything to do with the pageant, following Mzembi’s claims that she was only managing it on behalf of the authority.
“We are not running Miss Tourism Zimbabwe. We can’t run it when we have issued the licence to a private player. When we issued the licence to a private player you don’t do it yourself, we must put our hands off and allow the private player to go ahead and do the pageant,” he said.
“The same process of issuing licences that Miss World does, they can’t issue a licence and then they follow and also do it, it’s like they have issued a licence to Mrs [Marry] Chiwenga [licence holder of Miss World Zimbabwe] and they come and want to run it again, no they don’t do that.”
Kaseke said they could only monitor if the licence was being handled properly.
Mzembi, who was unreachable for comment yesterday, last week said: “This pageant is not in the name of Barbara Mzembi. It belongs to Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and they are the ones who have been running with this pageant for years.”