Don’t prioritise political fights, Mzembi tells media

Minister Mzembi

Minister Mzembi

Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi says the media should prioritise developmental issues and stop concentrating on political fights that tarnish the image of the country and the tourism sector.

He said this in an interview after addressing the 29th Joint Staff College Course students in Harare on Monday.

Minister Mzembi said while politics was newsworthy, it was not the only subject.

He expressed concern that national daily papers were involving themselves more in politics to the extent of acting like party tabloids and this was destroying tourism as Zimbabwe was being portrayed as a nation in conflict.

“Today we have found that the media have been the lead for deconstructing or debranding Zimbabwe through the news items that they publish. We have different types of news in our midst, which is not only political.

“We hope the media could be democratic to the extent of also covering developmental issues and other accomplishments that are taking place in other sub-sectors.

“Politics is just a sub-sector of the totality of actions and narratives that are taking place in our midst. I hope that one day we can see together all of us stakeholders and speak to the national interest of how we want as a nation to be understood out there,” he said.

Minister Mzembi said it was worrying that while Zanu-PF had its own paper, The Voice and other parties had their own papers, national papers were abandoning national issues for politics.

“Why don’t we allow those papers to cover party issues so the national dailies escalate issues of national interests expected by Zimbabweans.

“Cabinet, Politburo and Central Committee gatherings are platforms where ministers and senior party members express themselves over their disagreements or agreements, but to have national dailies communicating issues that have a bona fide, legitimate platforms within the context of party constitutions is actually disturbing.

“This is really hitting at tourism because of the perceived conflict. When you come on the ground you do not see it. But what we are merchandising to the international world is that we are a destination in conflict. Tourism and conflict do not core- exist. Tourism cannot market conflict. We market the beauty of the country, the accomplishments, is people, we market branding of our achievements as a nation,” he said.

He said it was selfish for the media to ignore other developmental issues and concentrate on politics.

“If papers are doing to satisfy their corporate pockets at the expense of national interest, then it means we have to review what national interest is and maybe take them on board so that they understand the damage they are doing to tourism,” he said.

Minister Mzembi told the students that peace was vital in the tourism sector.

“Terrorism has emerged as a pervasive phenomena in various parts of the world. Terrorist assault on peace hurts not only international and domestic tourism but damages centres of culture and contemporary human life styles.

“Your role as the military in maintaining peace is therefore vital. We are very fortunate that there is widespread peace in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa at the moment. A peace that unfortunately some of us in Zimbabwe are beginning to take for granted,” he said.

Minister Mzembi said Government should promote tourism enablers to boost the sector and improve the economy.

Enablers such as transport, information and communication technology visa regime and security were highlighted as some of the important areas that required to be addressed to boost the sector.

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  • Wilson Magaya

    It is critical for the Zimbabwe media to play its full role. That role is angling and projecting the Zimbabwe Story for the benefit of Zimbabwe. We have so called main stream media and opposition or rogue media in Zimbabwe, sometimes you find someone call other media illegal yet it has been there fore a longtime and it is part of our Zimbabwean democracy. Lets be the message in all we say and do. I agree with the minister. Lets understand and communicate to the people of Zimbabwe and the World that, YES,we compete politically, and it’s absolutely important to compete, but when it comes to national issues we work together for the betterment of our country, ZIMBABWE. We cannot remain indifferent to the impact our own words and actions have on our image. “Mazwi anoparadza kana kuvaka”. We undo ourselves by failing to live our African-ness. It is in our languages across Africa that “Kamoto kamberevere kanopedza matanda” Lets reflect on our words before we put them out for the world to see/hear. The world takes our opinion of ourselves seriously.

  • b c

    Muzembi’s concern on the impact of such reporting on the country’s image is understood. However, it is also true that the actors being reported on could grow up and desist from squabbling which sends the undesirable messages to certain unintended audiences. In any case, in a society where one political institution has been in control year in and year out, suppressing the opposition, and portraying some form of indivisibility, it is only natural that any sign of skirmishes or cracks within its structures would attract frenzied excitement.

  • Tengenenge

    Its equaly selfish for politcians to concentrate on fights ignoring dev issues

  • Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof)

    Its true that some of our government ministers and war vet leaders have put more emphasis on fighting their political differences in the media at the expense of news on people losing jobs,measures to mitigate drought and ZIMASSET! A whole minister preaching ugly discord in the media and then expect people to address him as “Honourable“? “Honourable“ foul mouthed liberator? My foot! Nehanda forbid!

    • kutototo

      The same applies to a ‘whole’ first lady who organises rallies for rumour mongering and allow singing of tribalistic songs.

  • Dr Gudo

    Walter go for president and Chinotimba Vp….you have my vote. I admire how progressive and objective Mzembi is. This is the type of leader we need in Zimbabwe

    • Ngomalungundu

      Ah, Mutsvangwa and Matemadanda will declare that Mzembi haana kugwira nyika ka saiwo vaviri ufunge!

  • Biggie Taapatsi

    Just check elsewhere in this issue there is indeed a report on the “economy” regarding the Chiadzwa diamonds, but unfortunately it’s fiasco. And I am sure such destroys not just our tourism market but foreign investments big time. So the fact of the matter is not really about why the media is reporting, because that is their core business, but how party, govt and business leaders should project themselves out there so that the reported news is positive.

  • Ngwenayasvinura

    So Mzembi, after singing for your supper recently, you re suggesting ‘our war vets’ should be kicked, punched and tear gassed and we in diaspora shldnt know about it?Ah iwe, wakuhwandisa nyaya dzakakosha.

    • Home Defender

      Do you see any value being added to the welfare of war vets by the foul mouthing between war vet leadership and their political opponents? Is it creating job opportunities. Was the agenda of the disrupted political rally to discuss economic issues relevant to our current priority trajectory, ZIMASSET? Pafunge! Is ZNLWVA a political party? Come home and read correctly the political landscape.

  • Chikonamombe

    Well said Walter

  • Collin Mackenzie

    That’s a true leader in the making trust me.
    This man has his head in the right place,just look at the performance of his ministry.

    Well done Walter.