Germany threatens boycott of tourism conference

UN World Tourism Organization

By Alex Bell
09 January 2013

Germany has threatened to boycott the planned UN World Tourism Office (UNWTO) conference, set to take place in Victoria Falls later this year, because of Zimbabwe’s failure to honour foreign investment agreements.

Addressing journalists at his offices in Harare on Wednesday, German Ambassador Hans-Günter Gnodtke said he failed to get any help from Zim government officials, who he approached about the invasion of German owned properties. Such properties are meant to be protected by a Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (BIPPA) between Germany and Zimbabwe, but Zimbabwe has refused to honour this or any other BIPPA it has signed.

The Ambassador was particularly concerned about the German concessions at the Save Valley Conservancy, which was invaded by a group of ZANU PF members last year. The Ambassador warned that boycotting the UN tourism conference in August was being mulled over as a possible reaction to this.

“We have not yet made our decision if and at what level to participate on that conference, if (there are) elements wishing to destroy wildlife and tourism infrastructure in Zimbabwe protected by international BIPPAs. If they should succeed, this will seriously affect Zimbabwe’s qualification to host an international meeting on tourism,” he said.

The situation at the Save Valley has calmed down after the intervention of Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi. However, the hosting of the meeting comes as there are plans underway to start mining exploration at Mana Pools, despite the area being a UN protected Heritage site. This, as well as ongoing problems with poaching, land invasions and other issues, are all being used as key examples why the UN should not host the conference in Zimbabwe.

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5 Responsesto “Germany threatens boycott of tourism conference”

  1. Chimbwido Warvet says:

    The laws that have been promulgated by the country to take land from whatever quarter for resettlement purposes are not selective. If the government wants the land, it just takes it to fulfill its national interests. It is as simple at that. Any threats of that nature by the Germany government will not work at all. And the country should never curve in to such empty threats.

    • Yepec says:

      The point is that Zanu PF uses the land-hungry people in Communal Lands to settle its score with the white settlers. Zanu PF, has been ruling for the past 32 years yet it has done nothing to correct the ills that the whiteman created. However, worse inequalities and oppression have been meted the Africans than what they ever endured at the hands of the white settlers

      Below are some examples, illustrating the abuse of power by Zanu PF:
      (i) Its chefs, currently, own 64 percent of arable land in Zimbabwe, when the Communal Lands are teaming with landless people.

      (ii) Some Zanu PF leaders own 39 farms per person when the Reserves are full of landless people and are regarded as dust-bowl and places filled with sandy soils.

      (iii) The number of landless Africans has increased four times yet Zanu PF chefs each owning thousands of square miles of fertile, agricultural land.

      Additionally, the Africans masses have never been so oppressed by the whiteman as they are under the tyranny of a Zanu PF, black government.

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        While the black people of this country fight for the ownership and control of their land, they will always be other black people who put spanners or cogs in the works to protect white capital and subjugation of the their own people. Uncle Toms will never go away. It is a fact of life. Some even think slavery and colonialism never existed.

        I still remember reading of a story during my teenage years of black slaves whose ship had marooned on Utopian island who helped their slave master from drowning and dying of hunger. They saved their master’s life until he was well enough to continue on their voyage to the New World where the slaves were later sold for a fat cheque by their master.

    • Common Sense says:

      Even if it was under a BIPPA agreement.

      That thinking simply results in zero investment and therefore Zimbabwe will fail in agriculture. It does not have the financial capacity or economic growth to sustain it. It cannot go it alone.

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        I am sorry to have to tell you that we as Africans or Zimbabweans in particular have been stripped of our culture and heritage spanning to many centuries and non of us seems to understand the depth of what that means. Being stripped of our culture that allowed us do things on our own before the arrival of the white man on the African continent, means being conditioned to the notion of accepting ourselves as useless and inferior beings. It also means we have been conditioned to feel to be dependent on Europeans, dependent on white people but we could not do anything for ourselves in our own image. It is a disease we can get rid of as I firmly believe we have the brains and aptitudes to do anything we can dream of if we change our mindset that has been ingrained in us for hundreds of years. Slavery and colonialism did a lasting damage to the lot of us. For us nothing works perfectly well without the participation of the white man. Of course, it is a mirth of illusion as we are as good as anybody else on this planet.

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