Zimbabwe’s tourism minister Walter Mzembi has reportedly made a proposal that Queen Elizabeth II and President Robert Mugabe should sit down for tea together to help boost tourism in the southern African country.
According to The Telegraph, Mzembi made the proposal while in London where he was campaigning to become head of the United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation and to promote Zimbabwe as a tourism destination.
“[The UK and Zimbabwe] are so much in love with each other. [There has been] some kind of love-hate relationship born out of a family feud,” Mzembi was quoted as saying.
Britain is Zimbabwe’s largest European holiday market, with travellers drawn to impressive natural features such as the mighty Zambezi, Victoria Falls and a national park the size of Wales, the report said.
Mugabe has over the years criticised Britain, accusing it of trying to topple him from power.
In February, the southern African country’s Information Communication Technology and Courier Services Supa Mandiwanzira “clashed” with Britain’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Catriona Laing over the continued sanctions on Mugabe and his wife Grace.
Mugabe and the First Lady remained the only Zimbabweans on the European Union’s sanctions list.
The EU first imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2002 over its rights record, but decided to ease them in the hope that this would encourage Mugabe, 92, to introduce some measure of reform.
Mandiwanzira told the UK ambassador to urge her government to remove what he called a “political risk”.
“I must say that we did not quite agree on the issues of sanctions that there are those who have been taken off and only two people remain. These are the most important people in our country, and you can remove sanctions against Supa Mandiwanzira, and or this other minister and that permanent secretary, but for as long as the president and his wife remain on these sanctions it gives an impression and picture of that there is too much political risk,” Mandiwanzira was quoted as saying at the time.