This morning former Foreign Minister of Zimbabwe and the minister for tourism and hospitality for 8 years, Dr. Walter Mzembi entered a courtroom in Harare this morning to face his criminal trial. The court extended Dr. Mzembi’s $400.00 bail and postponed the trial until February 27, since the Government was not yet ready to proceed.
Here is why this well respected former minister finds himself in a criminal court. When he was a minister of tourism he donated four big screen TV sets to churches in order to increase religious tourism to Zimbabwe. Even though he had no monetary advantage doing this, the new Zimbabwe government wants to see Mzembi in prison for misuse of power.
In a 2013 report, the Financial Gazette said: “Walter Mzembi, the Zimbabwe Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, said movements of religious people constitutes tourism since the majority of them spend days and nights away from their normal homes.
“This is a reality that as leaders we cannot afford to ignore. This is a reality we must not only recognize but which we must find ways of addressing so that our people’s religiosity is leveraged for the best interests of our nation,” Mzembi said in 2013, continuing “Religion promotes peace and harmony with spiritual well-being considered as an integral part of people’s way of life.”
A year later thousands of Jehovah’s Witness parishioners have descended on Harare, snapping up all available hotel accommodation and spending millions of dollars as government’s religious tourism push pays off. Walter Mzembi, the minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, told the Daily News.
Perhaps it’s time for Zimbabwe’s new progressive leadership to learn from the past, but honor those that did well in the past. Keeping the Zimbabwe image up during impossible times is an achievement on its own. It would be a good move for the new leadership to use the experience and wisdom of people like Mzembi for a better future Zimbabwe. Dr. Mzembi knows this and just two days ago offered his support for Zimbabwe’s new leadership and announced an open pledge of alliance to Zimbabwe under the new President Emmerson Mnangagwa