By Lorraine Muwuya
The man behind the successful running and hosting of Zimbabwe tourism events has retired.
Karikoga Kaseke, better known in the tourism industry as KK, has retired due to health challenges, having suffered a stroke in November 2018. He has since been unable to report for duty.
His tenure has been cut short but his wish was to retire from Public Service at 65 years.
Kaseke, a retired Zimbabwe National Army Colonel, has a long history in the public service that stretches as far back as the liberation struggle which gained Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.
He is best described as a career Public Servant. The now retired, former Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Chief Executive boasts of a history of re-assignment from one public institution to another. Having been attested into the Zimbabwe National Army in 1981, Kaseke was re-assigned to the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (then known as the Department of Civil Aviation) in 1991 and was appointed as the Chief of Security at the institution.
He rose through the ranks to become the Director-General in 2001, before he was re-assigned to what was then the Ministry of Transport and Communications, where he served as the Permanent Secretary.
In 2005, he was appointed as the Chief Executive of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, where he was tasked with resurrecting the then collapsing tourism industry. Having previously served in the transport industry, it was in the tourism industry, heading the nation’s parastatal responsible for marketing and promoting brand Zimbabwe, where Kaseke arguably made and left his greatest mark.
Upon assuming office, Kaseke stated that he wanted to bring the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority closer to the industry and the tourism sector close to the other sectors of the economy.
During his tenure, the relevance of not only the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority but the whole tourism sector to the economy gained recognition for the very first time ever. In 2018 Zimbabwe received a record 2.6 million tourists and was named one of the best countries in the world to visit for 2019.
Kaseke birthed the new destination brand, “Zimbabwe A World of Wonders” in 2010 which was launched in various local and international markets, earning both the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and Karikoga Kaseke various awards locally and internationally.
There can be little doubt, if any, that KK leaves Zimbabwe’s tourism industry in a significantly better state than it was in 2006 when he was appointed the country’s tourism chief. Kaseke leaves behind a legacy that comprises of tolerance and hard work.
When contacted for comment, Kaseke said that he applauded and saluted the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority employees, whom he described as hard working and dedicated colleagues.
“I can no longer fulfill my dreams and teachings to the development of tourism and the nation at large. I have diligently and honestly served my government and the nation in several capacities for the duration of my whole professional life. It has always been my desire to serve in the public service until retirement”, Kaseke said in his parting words.
Kaseke stated that he wished to thank His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, The Honourable Vice President General (Rtd) CGDN Chiwenga, The Chief Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, The Honourable Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality N.M Ndlovu, The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Board of Directors, Management and Staff, and all tourism stakeholders for their support during his tenure as the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Chief Executive Officer and during his illness.