Dear Zimbabwe Military: It’s time for military diplomacy

Zimbabwe is facing a new reality after military intervention and the removal of their longtime president Robert Mugabe.

It’s time for military diplomacy to show the people friendly side of the Zimbabwe Military. This is a message echoed by senior travel and tourism leaders from around the world.

The International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) Founder and President Louis D’Amore expressed concern and solidarity with Hon. Dr. Walter Mzembi and his family as he faces being a fugitive as a result of the military intervention in Zimbabwe.

Juergen Steinmetz, the Chairman of the Hawaii, Brussels, Seychelles and Bali based International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) with tourism board members in more than 70 countries said:

“Well-meaning Revolutions do not eat their children nor criminalize them, let alone their best. Mzembi is an excellent diplomat, an international citizen of repute, incarcerating him when he is Zimbabwe’s best option for dialogue and diplomacy out of this crisis kills common sense. He is still legitimately the chief diplomat of his country and sending him on the run ruins an opportunity for trade-offs and concessions and ultimately the attainment of sustainable peace and stability and legitimacy of what the Military is trying to sell to the world.”

Geoffrey Lipman, President of International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) and Chairman eTN Publisher Juergen T. Steinmetz
“Being a fugitive is not just physical but mental, it’s about civil liberties. Civilians do not need armored cars nor high-performance guns to engage them as was the case with the inordinate show of force with the capture of the Zimbabwe Minister of Finance Dr. Chombo.”

It’s time for military diplomacy to show the people friendly side of the Military.”

Yesterday ICTP President Professor Geoffrey Lipman said: “We are watching current events in Zimbabwe, independently and objectively, with no partisan interest.

However, we do know those strange things happen in uncertain times and we want to go on record for the well being of Walter Mzembi – until recently a very active Tourism Minister and latterly Foreign Minister of Zimbabwe.

We have known and admired Dr. Mzembi for years and have watched as he has traveled the globe representing his country with skill, dignity, and pride, most recently in an honorable quest for Secretary General of UNWTO.

We call on the global travel community to join us in our best wishes and support for our friend Walter and his family.”

The Peace Through Tourism chief Louis D’Amore added: “Dr. Mzembi has been a friend of IIPT since 2010 when we first met at World Travel Market and then collaborated during the IIPT Fifth African Conference in Lusaka regarding the successful joint proposal of Zambia and Zimbabwe to co-host the UNWTO 20th General Assembly at Victoria Falls Zambia and subsequently regarding the ‘IIPT Great Falls Peace Parks Initiative’ planned for 2018.”

Dr. Mzembi honorably represented Zimbabwe this past year as one of the leading candidates for the position of UNWTO Secretary-General with the endorsement of the African Union. He has also been a creative contributor to sustainable tourism strategies and development in Zimbabwe and all of Africa as United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Regional Commission for Africa Chairperson; Chairman of the Southern Africa Development Community Committee of Tourism Ministers; UNWTO Executive Council Member UNWTO Co-President of the UNWTO 20th General Assembly; and a three-time President of the Africa Travel Association.

Hon. Dr. Mzembi is also the recipient of several prestigious awards including African Tourism Minister of the Year; African Tourism Investment Awards; Africa Leadership and Inspiration Award; Brand Leadership Award and others.

Dr. Mzembi will be a keynote speaker at the UNWTO – IIPT Global Summit: Sustainable Tourism for Development and Peace announced this past week at World Travel Market, being held in Montreal, August 27 – 30, 2018.

IIPT Founder D’Amore urges travel and tourism leaders throughout the world to join with UNWTO, ICTP and IIPT in support and solidarity with, Hon. Walter Mzembi and his family during this challenging time in Zimbabwe.