Shebeens to be rebranded Home Hospitality Centres


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Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi yesterday told Parliament that shebeens, homes where people can buy liquor but are illegal, will soon be legalised and rebranded Home Hospitality Centres which can even get business from established hotels.

Responding to a question from Muzarabani South Member of Parliament Christopher Chitindi on what government policy on operations of shebeens was, Mzembi said Zimbabwe was now in the new tourism policy, capturing the essence of shebeens and rebranding them into Home Hospitality Centre.

“They will be an extension of a product that we shall actually register and grade, because they will be licenced, they will not be threatened in the same manner that they were threatened before,” he said.

“They will be part of a total package of products that we expect households that are part of our extension of virtual products and connected to existing and established hotel and hospitality infrastructure which will pass some of the clients to these Home Hospitality Centres.”

Asked by Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga whether this would not be turned into sex tourism, Mzembi responded: “Madam Speaker, how does the Minister of Tourism today, make sure that people in hotels pavanosangana havo, vakadzi nevarume havaite izvozvo zvirikutaurwa na Amai Misiharabwi. I do not look into the bedrooms, I do not know who you go to bed with in that hotel, it is not my purview.”

 

Q & A:

 

MR. CHITINDI: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry. What is Government policy on the operation of shebeens?

THE MINISTER OF TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (ENG. MZEMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. The hon. member asked about Government policy on Shebeens. In fact we are in a sense now in the new tourism policy, capturing the essence of shebeens, not in the colonial sense where they were out-lawed by colonial regime laws. If you recollect, our forefathers, used to get certification from local authorities in order to qualify to drink clear beer. After independent Zimbabwe, everybody had access to clear beer. In the process, it caused a proliferation of what he refers to as Shebeens but we have rebranded them now in the new tourism policy as Home Hospitality Centres –[Laughter]-. There will be an extension of a product that we shall actually register and grade, because they will be licenced, they will not be threatened in the same manner that they were threatened before. They will be part of a total package of products that we expect households that are part of our extension of virtual products and connected to existing and established hotel and hospitality infrastructure which will pass some of the clients to these Home Hospitality Centres.

I raise here, just a case in point, an opportunity that is coming shortly, in a month’s time, which is being spawned by the ICASA Conference. We have absolutely no capacity to host ICASA in its totality using traditional products. I have asked the ZTA to go out there and register Home Hospitality Centers as I call them, which will accommodate visitors in a typical homely environment. Now, if you were to ask me whether that guest, if he is offered a beer beverage in his home, whether that home would constitute a Shebeen? The answer is no.

So, we are going to come up with a very creative product that will pass an opportunity to our people, whether they are in townships or suburbia but they will be properly recorded, graded, licensed and authorised. Within them they will offer all these hospitality offerings that refers to as shebeens. So, yes, it is coming but not in the old sense of shebeens but rebranded home hospitality products. I thank you

*MR. ZIYAMBI: I would like to ask Hon. Mzembi if Shebeens are now legalised. Thank you.

ENG. MZEMBI: The Shebeens that the hon. member is making reference to, were illegal because they were not registered. I would want my ministry to be in a position to empower Zimbabwean children so that they are able to do what they can with their homes. I am saying that you now have some lodges in Bulawayo, houses with 40 bedrooms and so forth. You do not sleep in the same bedroom with your wife, one has her own bedroom and only use one bedroom and the other one is in the next; we want such houses to be voluntarily registered by the owners of those mansions so that they be an extension of our lodges that we have in our cities. If you go to South Africa and other places, especially in Malaysia, which we are using as our benchmark, such hotels are graded and the standards are assessed all the time.

The ones that we would have registered will become legal because they will be in accordance with our framework but those shebeens that were operating in Rhodesia were illegal; they were outlawed in Rhodesia. Those that will be in Zimbabwe will be legalised according to Zimbabwe.

MRS. MISIHARABWI-MUSHONGA: Hon. Minister, just perhaps to clarify, how are you going to make sure that this is not turned into sex tourism? If people are going to be accommodating guests and you are literally saying to them it is okay, how do you make sure they only get beer and not other products in the process?

*ENG. MZEMBI: Madam Speaker, how does the Minister of Tourism today, make sure that people in hotels pavanosangana havo, vakadzi nevarume havaite izvozvo zvirikutaurwa na Amai Misiharabwi. I do not look into the bedrooms, I do not know who you go to bed with in that hotel, it is not my purview. Thank you.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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