Published on : Monday, January 16, 2017
For the impending UNWTO Secretary-General’s post slated for May this year, there are five more candidates joining Zimbabwe’s Dr. Walter Mzembi’s line of contest. He will now have to contest with Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili of Georgia, Marcio Favilla Lucca de Paula of Brazil, Mrs. Gloria Guevara of Mexico, Mr. Alain St. Ange of Seychelles and Mr. Lahcen Haddad of Morocco. With the countdown starting, Dr. Mzembi faces the biggest challenge from de Paula, who is the current UNWTO executive director for operational programmes and institutional relations and UNWTO’s second-in-charge. Marcio de Paula comes with institutional knowledge, which he can manipulate in his favor, and Dr. Rifai himself stood down for him about a year before the election, giving Marcio a starting advantage.
However, Dr. Mzembi isn’t a beginner and has been in the UNWTO executive council since 2010 and was the chair of the UNWTO African Commission for two terms. Much is waiting in terms of excitement when on 19th January in Madrid, Spain, Dr. Mzembi and de Paula will be hosting campaign dinners simultaneously at 7 p.m. for attracting audiences at FITUR, the Spanish international tourism fair. It will be interesting to see which dignitaries attend which event and which one Dr. Rifai will attend. Since no African has ever held the coveted post of the UNWTO Secretary-General, it will be interesting to see if Dr. Mzembi bags the position this time.