Tuesday, August 27, 2013

(STICKY) Well done sekuru, Sata congratulates Mugabe
By Edwin Mbulo and Mwala Kalaluka in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Tue 27 Aug. 2013, 14:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata says Robert Mugabe's landslide re-election is a demonstration of his people's confidence in his leadership and that of the ruling ZANU-PF.

And President Mugabe says Zimbabwe will remain an active member of the United Nations despite the chagrin and demonic tendencies of the political and military superpowers in Europe and America that dominate the organisation and have imposed hegemonic sanctions on his country.

During a colourful official opening of the 20th United Nations World Tourism Organisation UNWTO held at Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls border town on Sunday night, President Sata personally congratulated President Mugabe on his re-election.

"I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Comrade sekuru Robert Mugabe on his re-election as President of Zimbabwe. Comrade Mugabe, well done to you and your party ZANU-PF," he said.

"Your victory signifies the trust and confidence the people of Zimbabwe have in you and ZANU-PF."

President Sata said the co-hosting of the UN tourism conference would strengthen the two countries' already warm bilateral relations.

"To you my brother Comrade Mugabe, without Amai Grace and indeed without Amai Christine, what we are seeing wouldn't have been possible because normally, a great man must have a great woman behind him, and well done the two young ladies," he said as the delegates applauded.

President Sata said tourism was a sector of great significance and also thanked UNWTO secretary general Dr Taleb Rifai for ensuring that the southern African region hosts the UNWTO general assembly for the first time.

"Although we are supposed to be Siamese twins, I don't want to steal the show. I now want to call upon the bigger twin to come and tell us what he called us here for because up to now, we have not eaten," said President Sata.

The two presidents later lit the Victoria Falls Bridge and while clasping each other's hands, they shouted "Pamberi" forward.

And President Mugabe said the West's ill-conceived and debilitating sanctions on his country disabled it from participating in bodies like the UNWTO.

"Your decision to hold this important global event at this venue inspires us," President Mugabe told Dr Rifai. "We expect it to leave an indelible mark on our memories and that it be part of our generational legacy, marking a clear turning point in the tourism fortunes of our two countries, of our region and indeed of our continent of Africa."

He said Africa's integration as one state would be a great catalyst to the growth of sustainable tourism, more so that Europe was trying to keep all the tourism dollars within the Eurozone by imposing punitive airport taxes on travellers.

He said Zimbabwe was enthused with the decision to hold the UNWTO general assembly at the Victoria Falls, which is shared by Zambia and Zimbabwe.

"We are very enthused by the endorsement of our two countries as worth hosts of such a meeting," President Mugabe told the delegates seated on a sprawling hotel lawn overlooking the Victoria Falls Bridge.

"The hosting of the UNWTO general assembly inspires us in our ongoing and continued efforts since the coming into being of the state of Zimbabwe to maintain friendly relations with the whole international community, even with those countries with which we may not agree on all matters."

He said the hosting of the UNWTO at one of the seven natural wonders of the World was also a recognition that it was a safe and secure destination.

"Zimbabwe recognises the efficacy of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation's social and economic development strategy," President Mugabe said.

"We remained an active member of the organisation until 1999. Unfortunately, during the period 2000 to 2008, we faced immense
challenges occasioned in a large part by illegal debilitating sanctions imposed upon us by some sections of the West. These sanctions sadly came hard on the heels of the IMF, World Bank's ill-conceived economic structural adjustment programme, so-called ESAP. But other negatives disabled our active participation in bodies like in the UNWTO."

President Mugabe said in 2009, Zimbabwe, with the facilitation of SADC and the African Union, happily formed a government of national unity, which he said somewhat led to softening of the stances against his country 'on the part of our political and economic detractors of Europe and America'.

He noted that with Dr Rifai's support, Zimbabwe had again become an active member of the UNWTO and had since acquired a seat on the organisation's executive council.

"Since then, we have not looked back and following our successful two-nation bid with Zambia to co-host this session, we find ourselves here tonight," President Mugabe said.

"President Sata and I have since signed a golden book of tourism, thus becoming ambassadors for global tourism, never mind the chagrin of our detractors over this matter. In West Africa, they say 'don't mind them'. Please let all of you know that the signing of the golden book of tourism was not a mere ceremony for us, for through that act we recognised the important political and economic role that tourism can play in our two countries and our continent. We are committed to leveraging this sector as a key driver of our economic growth."

President Mugabe reiterated Zimbabwe's commitment to the founding values and principles of the United Nations.

"…not withstanding adversity of the demonic tendencies of some of the world's economic and military superpowers who dominate the organisation," said President Mugabe.

"We are very satisfied that the UN is a vital body for all humanity…it is on that basis that I, without reservation, gave my full support to the Zambia-Zimbabwe bid to host this general assembly. I'm very glad that the organisation decided to host the general assembly here."

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