By Ndamu Sandu
Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi has taken another key step in the battle for the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary general’s post after his candidature alongside six other candidates was approved by the world tourism’s body secretariat for the May polls.
The election will take place at the UNWTO executive council meeting scheduled for Madrid, Spain, from May 11 to 12.
The successful candidate will replace Jordanian Taleb Rifai and lead the tourism body for the period 2018 to 2021.
The candidates vying for the post had up to March 11 at 12 midnight Madrid time to submit the documents.
In a list of candidates released by UNWTO, Mzembi will fight it out with Armenian Vahan Martinosyan, Márcio Favilla (Brazilian), Jaime Alberto Cabal Sanclemente (Colombian), Zurab Pololikashvili (Georgian), Young-shim Dho (South Korean) and Alain St. Ange from Seychelles.
For the candidature to be approved, one was supposed to submit documents that included a letter of the candidate, curriculum vitae, statement of policy and management intent and a certificate of good health signed by a recognised medical facility alongside a letter of support from the government of the country endorsing the candidate.
“The secretariat received seven other applications which were not accompanied by the required documents.
Consequently, the applications will not be submitted to the 105th session of the executive council,” it said.
Mzembi has the backing of the African Union after being endorsed at a heads of state and government meeting last July. Since then, he has been crisscrossing continents to garner the support of the 33 Executive Council members.
Of the members, 11 (Angola, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Seychelles, Egypt, South Africa, Zambia, Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana and Kenya) are from Africa.