By Lance Guma
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LONDON – Oliver Mtukudzi does not have a diplomatic passport nor does he have anything in writing confirming that he is Zimbabwe’s tourism ambassador despite a misleading impression created by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).
Two years ago ZTA Chief Executive Karikoga Kaseke used the Indaba International Travel and Tourism Exposition in Durban, South Africa, to announce that Mtukudzi had been made Zimbabwe’s tourism ambassador.
But speaking exclusively to Nehanda Radio on the side-lines of the just ended ‘History Tour’ with Thomas Mapfumo in the UK, Mtukudzi’s manager Sam Mataure said there have still not received anything in writing nor has Mtukudzi been issued with the expected diplomatic passport.
“Well the thing is that the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority from our last discussion that we had a couple of months ago, they said they were working on having Tuku being an official tourism ambassador.
“So as we speak, we are waiting to hear from them. It will be a great honour should that happen but as we speak he does not hold a diplomatic passport. He is using the ordinary Zimbabwe passport.”
Asked if they were not happy with this apparent ‘lip service’, Mataure said:
“It’s not that we are not happy with it, it’s just that we always say if someone is going to be an ambassador for a certain brand, then clearly there must be something in writing, the normal way of doing things you know.
“You going to be the school headmaster, it’s in writing you going to be the school headmaster and here is your paper that says so. Right now Mr Mtukudzi does not have a letter from anyone that says that he is a tourism ambassador from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.
“But I know we have spoken about it and they said they are working on it. So like I said before, we wait patiently, when they are ready, they will be ready and they will tell us. But for now he is Oliver Mtukudzi.”
Asked how long the stalemate had been rumbling on Mataure said:
“I started in 2007 as Mr Mtukudzi’s manager and I had to start from scratch and started learning the management side of things and that’s when I came face to face with the whole tourism ambassador for Mr Mtukudzi.
“And as a manager there are certain things I have learnt. I had a bit of experience with ambassadorship because I worked with Miriam Makeba for three, four years and she was an ambassador and there was something in writing that showed that officially she is an ambassador,” Mataure told Nehanda Radio.
Efforts to get comment ZTA chief Karigoka Kaseke on why nothing had been formalised in nearly two years proved futile as he was not answering his phone. (We will continue trying to get him).