HARARE – The race for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary-general post is not yet over, Tourism minister Walter Mzembi (pictured) said yesterday.
Mzembi insists there is still a small window of opportunity for him to reclaim the post from Georgia’s Zurab Pololikashvili.
“It’s not over yet,” he told a news conference in Harare yesterday.
This comes as the UNWTO general assembly is set to vote on the candidacy of Pololikashvili, who controversially beat Mzembi at the recently concluded executive council elections in Madrid, Spain.
Mzembi polled 15 votes against 18 votes garnered by the Georgian in the second round of voting after the first round failed to secure a clear winner.
The UNWTO general council is now set to ratify Pololikashvili during the upcoming 22nd assembly.
This comes amid allegations of unethical deal cutting by foreign ministries and heads of State, with Georgia unrelated to travel and tourism in exchange for Pololikashvili votes. It also includes possible upcoming lawsuits against executive council decisions and procedures and allegations of unfair access and bribery. Mzembi is hoping Pololikashvili’s nomination will be thrown out.
“…we are still the dark horse going forward to September 11-16 when the UNWTO shall convene for the general assembly in China,” he said.
Pololikashvili’s nomination has to be confirmed by the general assembly in Chengdu, by a two-third majority.
“….it means he will be required to master 102 member country endorsements by voting in order to be appointed the new secretary-general, so we will be there to make sure that we are correctly and strategically positioned to take advantage of any outcome,” Mzembi said.