President Mugabe at it again ...

What is it that Mzembi is doing right? NKULUMANI MLAMBO MASVINGO – The Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Walter Mzembi c...



What is it that Mzembi is doing right?

NKULUMANI MLAMBO

MASVINGO – The Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Walter Mzembi can fit the description of the proverbial cat with nine lives.
He was a known disciple of the Gamatox faction with its allegiance to the fired former Vice President Joice Mujuru. All men and women known to belong to that camp were ditched in a merciless purge as President Mugabe exorcised the ruling party of the ghost of the Mujurus; both husband (General Solomon Mujuru) and wife.
Mzembi survived that purge and his survival left political analysts clutching for an explanation. There are of course a few other survivors from the Mujuru camp like Sydney Sekeramai, David Parirenyatwa and Simon Khaya Moyo but the escape of the three is for obvious reasons; their allegiance to Mugabe goes a long way and is unquestionable. Questioning Sekeramayi's loyalty to Mugabe is like doubting whether the sun will rise again tomorrow and for Parirenyatwa, one of the elements of his closeness to Mugabe comes from his late father who Mugabe had immense respect for.
Even the late Vice President, Simon Muzenda's son Tongai, was fired as deputy minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services in December 2014.
Mzembi's survival in one of the biggest post-independence purges in Zanu PF was therefore not just a source of surprise but it raised eyebrows.
On Saturday, Mugabe was at it again at a youth rally held at Mucheke Stadium praising and glorifying Mzembi for what amounted to very little. He showered the 53-year-old politician with praise for raising problems of factionalism in Masvingo with him (Mugabe) and then facilitating a meeting between Mugabe and MPs from the province.
Many were questioning; did that deserve so much time and attention at a rally by the President?
In addition to the praises, Mugabe appeared to be endorsing Mzembi for re-election in his Masvingo South Constituency next year and added that no one should think of removing him.
"There is this huge problem that when we get to elections some say we no longer want Mzembi, so who do you want. He is your MP and he was elected by the people.
"I chaired two important meetings, one at State House after Mzembi said MPs from Masvingo wanted to see me as there were issues that needed discussion. I told him to bring them and they came and I heard their grievances. They said they were having issues with their seniors, Hungwe and others," said Mugabe.
Mugabe told the rally that Mzembi then went on to arrange another meeting in Chiredzi for him and the MPs.
Theories are abound as to the real deal between Mugabe and Mzembi with speculation that the later is Mugabe's mole in Masvingo and this is connected to the way the entire Mujuru faction was fired in the province except for him. Judging by Mugabe's comments, Mzembi appears to have more access to the President than many senior party stalwarts including the Minister of State for Masvingo Shuvai Mahofa.
Mzembi who sometimes allow his closeness to Mugabe to get to his head literally brags and says he is not only intelligent but he has leadership qualities that are liked by Mugabe.
He was recently telling a gathering that when it comes to leadership skills, he is like a round peg in a round hole.
His ambitions have seen him trying many things that to many look impossible.
He made a proposal to host the World Football Cup in 2034 and although he started with a lot of zest, the project has lost steam and vanished into thin air.
Recently, he tried his hand at standing in an election for the United Nations Tourism World Organisation (UNTWO) post and although he did well in the first round he was defeated in the second round.
No one can doubt that Mzembi is a sweet talker and a media charmer with almost every newspaper in the country whether private or public singing him glory. He is a darling of the media and scores highly in most newspapers' MPs Of The Year ratings.
However, although Mzembi is nearly always on top of such ratings, the real substance of his high score sheet is rarely there. There is no tangible evidence or accomplishments in the performance sheet just the same as when President Mugabe goes praising him. The other theory about Mugabe and Mzembi is that either Mzembi or his wife Barbara Hernandez Mzembi is close to the First Lady Grace Mugabe. There is no doubt that Grace is the king-maker in Zanu PF and this has been acknowledged by high ranking party officials including Joice Mujuru who recently told the media that her appointment to become the country's first woman vice president came courtesy of Grace Mugabe's recommendation.
Mzembi also frequently goes against the tide in Zanu PF and he gets away with it particularly when he publicly attacks his party for certain shortcomings. Very few Zanu PF cadres attack or criticise their party in public and survive.
The latest such attack by Mzembi is when he called for the abolishment of roadblocks which he said were scaring away tourists. But whatever it is between Mugabe and Mzembi, the public sees little gain for the praises.
Mzembi has a unique history in Zanu PF. He was at one time the only person appointed to Cabinet from Masvingo until the appointment of Josiah Hungwe in 2016. Mugabe also at one time appointed Mzembi into the Zanu PF Central Committee despite that he had lost in his constituency. Mzembi's politics can sometimes be so ambivalent that during the Unity Government between 2008 and 2013 there were real fears that he would be fired from Zanu PF for identifying with MDC T sentiments and ideology.
Mzembi was appointed Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry in 2009 during the inclusive Government and Mugabe praised him at every opportunity and one time called him one of the best ministers in Cabinet after Zimbabwe had won the World Best Tourist Destination Award of the European Council on Tourism and Trade in 2014.
"I never say so to my ministers but I rate him (Mzembi) as one of my best ministers and whatever he does it is for the good of the country," said Mugabe.
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The Mirror: President Mugabe at it again ...
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