(eTN) – According to a report in Zim Daily, a Swiss tourist was arrested at the border for insulting the President. The Swiss man and his wife were traveling from Zambia to Mana Pools.
The matter was reported to the police and the Swiss national was arrested.
“Our detectives in Kariba have arrested a Swiss national in connection with statements he is alleged to have made that insulted the Republic of Zimbabwe President Mugabe. Fischer Thomas reportedly had a misunderstanding with a ZIMRA official whom he accused of delay. During the exchange of words Thomas allegedly said: Mugabe is ****, him and his people know how to screw people especially foreigners.”
This happened on the Saturday (8th) and he went to court on the Monday and told to report at the court on Wednesday. He was found guilty and ordered to pay US$200 as a fine. The report does not say whether the man was remanded in custody or not.
What is terrible for Zimbabwe tourism hopes is that the matter was repeated in newspapers all over the world. Here are some: Angolan Press, Ottawa Citizen (Canada), UK Guardian, Yahoo News, The Olympian (US), INamibia, Star Tribune (US), Xfinity (US), Tri-City Herald (US), Seattle Times (US), Ledger Enquirer (US), My Fox Orlando (US), KATV (US), Beatrice Daily Sun (US), ABC News 4 (US), Herald Palladium (US), Tulsa Channel (US), CBS Atlanta (US), The News Tribune (US), The State (US), San Diego Union-Tribune (US), SABC News (South Africa), Eye Witness News (US), News 24 (South Africa), Madison News (US), The Sacramento Bee (US), The Namibian, AZ Family (US), WCF Courier (US), Investing Business Week (US), Safari Talk … and it goes on … I counted at least another 30 repeats of the story and all I typed into Google Search was ‘Swiss Tourist Zimbabwe’. Unfortunately, too, some of the stories added this:
Insulting Mugabe is an offense under sweeping security laws and prosecutions are common. Earlier this year, a Zimbabwean salesman spent two months in jail after being found with satirical cartoons depicting a naked, skeletal Mugabe on his mobile phone. A Zimbabwean carpenter was arrested in February after he questioned whether Mugabe still had the strength to blow up balloons at his 88th birthday.
Most of these types of stories are a 7-day wonder, but if the Swiss Tourist takes the matter to his own government and, possibly to the European Union, it does not bode well for the UNWTO.