Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Minister cries after receiving Mugabe portrait

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi on Saturday shed tears soon after being handed a life size portrait of President Robert Mugabe before a packed auditorium at the 37th Africa Travel Association Congress in Victoria Falls.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi receives a portrait of President Mugabe while Vice President Joice Mujuru looks on during the ATA Conference in Victoria Falls on Saturday
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi receives a portrait of President Mugabe while Vice President Joice Mujuru looks on during the ATA Conference in Victoria Falls on Saturday

The portrait — of the President portrait in his middle age — inscribed: “Man of the Moment” was a gift to Minister Mzembi from Friends of Joshua Trust at the end of the official opening of ATA congress.

“I was overcome by emotion. I did not expect this. It is monumental! At times I fail to explain to the ordinary person how it feels to serve under a first republican President. This is why I could not hold back my tears,’’ he said in an interview.

Moments before Minister Mzembi’s incident, Vice President Mujuru who was the Guest of Honour, also received a portrait of Mbuya Nehanda while ATA executive director Mr Edward Bergman was handed a portrait of King Lobengula.

Friends of Joshua Trust chief executive Ms Beverly Pullen said the portraits were part of the exhibitions to be taken to India to sell Zimbabwe’s history to the world. She said they had decided to give VP Mujuru the Mbuya Nehanda portrait because she had represented a true African, caring and goal-getting woman.

VP Mujuru said: “Mbuya Nehanda was hanged in 1898 at a famous tree that was recently put down by Harare municipality. She represents the courage we have, the courage that made me at the age of 18 leave my par­ents for war and prove that there is no difference between a girl and boy child.”

Mr Bergman said he was going to display King Lobengula’s portrait at ATA headquarters in United States of America.

In an interview after receiving the portrait Minister Mzembi said: “Sharing the experience and founding philosophy of the revolution and nation­hood was done directly and not read in books. I got it directly from President Mugabe and I still get it. It’s different from reading from the books.”

“We live to experience such legacy from founding fathers like Nkwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Seretse Khama. It will never be the same experience past these personalities because every presidency has its own legacy and nothing beats that of founding fathers.”