The tournament, an international sporting event, unlocked the country’s potential to revive its battered image during the past decade because of political bickering.
Prior to political disturbances, Kariba town was the epicentre of tourism with thriving businesses. Hotels and lodges, houseboats were almost always fully booked with tourists from all over the world.
However, all that changed with the chaotic land reform in 2000 which saw white commercial farms being grabbed violently. More violence later erupted which saw among others the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters being butchered at a local hotel owned by a former Zanu (PF) central committee member who is now in the party’s politburo.
Hired Zanu (PF) youths led by one Black Jesus- Muneri Chakwana descended in Kariba to conduct a ‘’cleansing ceremony of MDC’’ supporters. The town was dripping with blood of innocent souls.
Among the victims was the late Luckson Kanyurira, abducted and brutally beaten in April 2001 and had his body left on the open at Nyamhunga bus terminus. Some women targeted had buttocks torched for supporting MDC. This wave of violence forced tourists to turn its back on the resort town, leading a blow to the economy which was relying mainly on foreign currency brought in by the foreign tourists.
Last week’s event had participants from as far as Norway, New Zealand, United Kingdom and other African countries who are most likely going to market Zimbabwe when they return home.
It is hoped Kariba town will maintain the momentum that has been set by the hosting of the tournament in order to attract more business and tourist visits.