The inevitability of the inevitable as the African Union robs Africa of the top UNWTO job


(Posted 12th May 2017)

There is no easy way to say this but someone has to say it in a way that everyone can understand what just went down in Madrid / Spain where the Executive Committee of the UN World Tourism Organization just voted for a new Secretary General who will hold the job for the next four years.

It is not an African Secretary General Elect however but a Georgian and the fault for that lays squarely with the African Union and its machinations behind the scenes and in the end in open forum, when they threatened and blackmailed Seychelles into withdrawing the endorsement for their own candidate Alain St. Ange. Requests to publish the infamous letter have meanwhile fallen, predictably so, on deaf ears.
St. Ange, as was learned from reliable sources in Madrid, had besides the vote of his home country Seychelles secured votes of as many as four other African countries in addition to which he had pledges from at least a dozen, very likely more Executive Committee members from other parts of the world. This was to be a testament to his unique qualification for the job and the respect he earned for his country and himself while serving in the Seychelles government.
These votes would have lifted him into the second round of the ballot and as an undisputed champion of tourism, his slogan was ‘Tourism For All‘ would no doubt have seen him elected as the first African to hold such a position.
The campaign was gruesome and got dirty at an early stage when one of the other candidate brought racism allegations into the public domain before at one stage flogging fake news that St. Ange had withdrawn.

While seeing himself as a Creole Seychellois did others on the continent simply classify him as a white man who got no business to represent Africa, representatives of regressive forces who will in their minds only ever allow black Africans to be called and call themselves Africans.

The media house which sided with Africa’s other candidate and perpetrated fake news is now disgraced and will no doubt face their own backlash. The candidate himself made it to round two with the African votes, affirming the stand of many here in Africa and overseas that a Zimbabwean candidate was not acceptable for the rest of the world.

Dr. Eng. Walter Mzembi, as an individual, had much merit for his campaign and were he to hold any other nationality he’d have stood an excellent chance to be elected. However, Zimbabwe’s political reputation played a major role in the elections and he simply could not gather the support from enough delegates from other continents to make his dream become reality. Whether this is right or wrong – I tend to believe Zimbabwe is wrongly bedeviled in the West and have often said so – is it a fact of life and a fact which must have been known and understood by a man of his intellect.
This outcome had been predicted by many, on social media, in news magazines, newspapers and TV interviews and it gives me no pleasure to say that we were right and his supporters were wrong.

The African Union too showed its ugly face again and trampled democratic principles into the dust, also affirming to many on the Executive Committee of UNWTO that this was not to be Africa’s moment given the blackmail brought to bear by the AU on the Seychelles government. Why, was the word in the corridors of the election venue, reward Africa for such malfeasance and for the organization’s constant disrespect for globally accepted rules and behaviour. Shame therefore on those who perpetrated this act of betrayal on a candidate who would have held Africa’s flag high for the next years and who would have brought added focus to the continents sputtering tourism industry.

I extend my commiseration to former candidate St. Ange, first and foremost, for the valiant campaign fought and for the massive support generated from private and public sector organizations around the world. I also commiserate Comrade Dr. Eng. Walter but with a word of caution that the mud slinging did not go down well and ultimately, in unison with the AU behaviour, cost him the job as the rest of the world would simply not have it.
Congratulations to the winner of the contest and a word of upfront warning, DO NOT IGNORE AFRICA or else at your peril come election time again in four year’s time.

And on a very personal note, the one who accepted his 30 silver coins and chose potential monetary and other rewards over friendship – you will be gone from my timelines and all else by the end of the day as I have no place in my life for such deviant and deceptive characters.

And now the proverbial goose is cooked and we all have to move on from this disappointing contest with best wishes to those who did not emerge as winners.