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Hon. Walter Mzembi deposits official nomination papers for UNWTO Secretary General

Hon. Walter Mzembi deposits official nomination papers for UNWTO Secretary General

At a brief ceremony held at the Madrid Headquarters of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) at 2000 hours on Saturday, 4 March 2017, Dr. Walter Mzembi, the African Union-endorsed candidate for the post of Secretary General of the UNWTO, deposited his official nomination papers with the incumbent Secretary General, Dr. Taleb Rifai.

Although the deadline for the deposit of the papers is midnight on 11 March 2017, Dr. Mzembi decided to detour through Madrid at the beginning of his current campaign outreach program, to lodge the requisite documentation directly with the Secretary General a week before the agreed cut-off date.


Witnessing the occasion was Dr. Mzembi’s wife, Mrs. Barbara Perez Hernandez; the wife of the incumbent Secretary General, Mrs. Rifai, the UNWTO Legal Counsel; Ms. Elcia de Grandcourt, UNWTO Regional Director for Africa; and members of Dr. Mzembi’s campaign team.

The documentation submitted by Dr. Mzembi included an official nomination letter signed by His Excellency President R.G. Mugabe, a 2-page curriculum vitae, a-6-page Statement of Policy and Management Intent, and a Certification of Sound Health.

The core document of the submission is the 6-page Statement of Policy and Management, which basically sets out the vision Dr. Mzembi, as Secretary General, has for the future development of global tourism under the umbrella of the UNWTO.

That vision is all-encompassing in nature, reflects Dr. Mzembi’s ambitious 10-Point Plan for the reform and renewal of the organization, and provides a clear road-map signposting how he intends to attain the targets articulated in that plan.

Key elements of his reform agenda, as highlighted in his Statement of Policy and Management Intent, include:

• Administrative and Governance Reform of the Organization,
• Responsible Tourism and Sustainability,
• Resource Mobilization and Business Development, and
• Organizational Repositioning and Brand Development.


In receiving the official nomination documentation, Secretary General Rifai thanked Dr. Mzembi for making the effort to personally deposit the requisite paperwork, congratulated him on his impressive campaign effort to date, and wished him well in the forthcoming election.

The election of a new Secretary General will take place during the course of the forthcoming 105th meeting of the UNWTO Executive Council which is scheduled to be held in Madrid, Spain, from 11 to 12 May 2017.

To date, in addition to Dr. Mzembi, there are 4 other candidates who have officially declared their candidature for the Secretary General post.

They are Mrs. Doh Young-shim of the Republic of (South) Korea, Ambassador Gurab Poloshikavili of the Republic of Georgia, Mr. Marcio Favilla Luca de Paula of Brazil, and Mr. Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles.

The election will be conducted by secret ballot. To win, a candidate requires a 50%-plus-1 tally from the Executive Council members present and voting. If all 33 members of the Executive Council are present and voting, this means that a candidate needs to secure a minimum of 17 votes in order to win the election.

Emerging from the election, therefore, will be a Secretary-General-elect.  The Chairperson of the Executive Council will then submit the name of the winning candidate – the Secretary-General elect – for endorsement by the next UNWTO General Assembly which is scheduled to take place in Chengdu, China, in September 2017. That endorsement requires a two-thirds majority of the UNWTO members present and voting.

The new Secretary General will take up the post on 1 January 2018 and will serve a 4-year mandate until 31 December 2021. That mandate is renewable once, for a further 4-year period.

Following the submission of his nomination documentation, Dr. Mzembi left Madrid for Ghana where, as part of His Excellency President Mugabe’s entourage, he attended the 60th Anniversary Celebrations of Ghanaian independence.

Dr. Mzembi held a bilateral meeting with his Ghanaian counterpart, Hon. Catherine Afeku – Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Creative Arts – to discuss the strengthening of cooperation in the field of tourism between the two countries on the basis of an MoU which, they agreed, should be finalized as soon as possible.

MAIN PHOTO: DR. TALEB RIFAI, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE UNWTO ACCEPTS THE OFFICIAL DOCUMENTATION NOMINATING DR. WALTER MZEMBI AS A CANDIDATE FOR THE POST OF SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE UNWTO. (UNWTO HEADQUARTERS – MADRID – SPAIN – 4 MARCH 2017)

ALL PHOTOGRAPHS – COURTESY OF THE ZIMBABWE TOURISM AUTHORITY (ZTA)

UNWTO SECRETARY GENERAL DR. TALEB RIFAI ACCEPTS THE OFFICIAL NOMINATION PAPERS OF DR. WALTER MZEMBI AS CANDIDATE FOR THE POST OF UNWTO SECRETARY GENERAL. (UNWTO HEADQUARTERS – MADRID – SPAIN – 4 MARCH 2017)

THE LEGAL COUNSEL OF THE UNWTO VERIFIES AND DATE STAMPS RECEIPT OF OFFICIAL DOCUMENTATION NOMINATING DR. WALTER MZEMBI AS A CANDIDATE FOR THE POST OF UNWTO SECRETARY GENERAL. (UNWTO HEADQUARTERS – MADRID – SPAIN – 4 MARCH 2017)

INCUMBENT SECRETARY GENERAL, DR. TALEB RIFAI AND DR. MZEMBI OBSERVE THE PROCESS. (UNWTO HEADQUARTERS – MADRID – SPAIN – 4 MARCH 2017)

UNWTO’S LEGAL COUNSEL (FAR RIGHT) VERIFIES AND DATE STAMPS RECEIPT OF OFFICIAL DOCUMENTATION NOMINATING DR. WALTER MZEMBI AS A CANDIDATE FOR THE POST OF UNWTO SECRETARY GENERAL. FRON LEFT TO RIGHT, UNWTO’S REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA, MS ELCIA GRANDCOURT, INCUMBENT UNWTO SECRETARY GENERAL DR. TALEB RIFAI AND DR. WALTER MZEMBI OBSERVE THE PROCESS. (UNWTO HEADQUARTERS – MADRID – SPAIN – 4 MARCH 2017)

DR. MZEMBI HOLDS UP THE FORMAL UNWTO ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT, BY THE UNWTO LEGAKL COUNSEL, OF HIS OFFICIAL NOMINATION PAPERS AS A CANDIDATE FOR THE POST OF SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE UNWTO. INCUMBENT SECRETARY GENERAL, DR. TALEB RIFAI, (FAR LEFT) LOOKS ON. (UNWTO HEADQUAERTETRS – SPAIN – 4 MARCH 2017)

UNWTO SECRETARY GENERAL, DR. TALEB RIFAI, IN DISCUSSION WITH DR. MZEMBI, THE AFRICAN UNION-ENDORSED CANDIDATE FOR THE POST OF UNWTO SECRETARY GENERAL – AFTER THE FORMAL SUBMISSION, BY DR. MZEMBI, OF HIS OFFICIAL NOMINATION PAPERS. (UNWTO HEADQUARTERS – MADRID – SPAIN – 4 MARCH 2017)

MRS. RIFAI, WIFE OF THE INCUMBENT UNWTO SECRETARY GENERAL AND MRS. BARBARA PEREZ HERNANDEZ, WIFE OF DR. WALTER MZEMBI, AU-ENDORSED CANDIDATE IN THE ELECTION TO SUCCEED DR. RIFAI, AT THE BRIEF CEREMONY AT WHICH DR. MZEMBI LODGED HIS OFFICIAL NOMINATION DOCUMENTATIOB WITH THE UNWTO SECRETARY GENERAL. (UNWTO HEADQUARTERS – MADRID –  SPAIN – 4 MARCH 2017)

MRS. RIFAI, WIFE OF THE INCUMBENT UNWTO SECRETARY GENERAL AND MRS. BARBARA PEREZ HERNANDEZ, WIFE OF DR. WALTER MZEMBI, AU-ENDORSED CANDIDATE IN THE ELECTION TO SUCCEED DR. RIFAI, AT THE BRIEF CEREMONY AT WHICH DR. MZEMBI LODGED HIS OFFICIAL NOMINATION DOCUMENTATION WITH THE UNWTO SECRETARY GENERAL. (UNWTO HEADQUARTERS – MADRID –  SPAIN – 4 MARCH 2017)

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