By Daniel Chigundu
ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive Dr Karikoga Kaseke has said the 5th edition of Harare International Carnival is going to surpass the previous four editions.
The carnival whose street part has been slated for the 20th of October will see various countries, traditional groups, schools, and corporates taking part while others have applied to hold block parties.
Addressing the media, Dr Kaseke said the carnival had been scheduled for July but had to be shifted to pave way for the harmonised 2018 elections.
“Carnival is back again and I know it is a very exciting event for most us in Zimbabwe, the Harare International Carnival but has been attended by a lot of people from around the country and I think it won’t be different again this year.
“We thought we would have it during the time of election campaigns but we were running against the tide, we were taught by the attendance at the World Class Legends soccer match against the Warriors Legends which was poorly attended at the National Sports Stadium,” he said.
The ZTA boss added that it was going to be difficult to divert peoples’ attention from elections to the carnival and so they did not see it fit to take the risk that had the potential to spoil the expected results from the event.
According to Dr Kaseke, they had then rescheduled the carnival to the 13th of October only to discover that the Zimbabwe Republic Police has its Commissioner’s Funfair on the same day.
“…So we have moved to the 20th of October to avoid having competing events on the same day, we need the police to be at our carnival and we didn’t want to be seen to be tearing them apart, so we just shifted the main street party by a week to be on the 20th of October.
The Harare International Carnival started in 2013 and has been held every year except in 2016 where it was blocked by lack of resources needed for the conducting of the event.
“We didn’t have it in 2016 we did not have resources if you don’t have resources you cannot have carnival because you will not achieve intended results, but if we had resources this would have been the 6th edition. However this year it’s going to be big, it’s going to be the mother of all carnivals,” he said.
Carnival is part of the many marketing strategies employed by the ZTA in its effort to help revive the sector and economy.
Some of the objectives according to Dr Kaseke include promoting happiness in the country, creating employment, empowering communities and creating a platform for citizens to escape from their daily hardships.
Speaking at the same occasion Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira said ZTA has a huge task at their hands if they wish to surpass last year’s crowd.
“My expectations are high for this year’s edition and judging from the footage and reports that I have seen and read, the organisers ZTA have a tall order to match,” he said.