By A Correspondent- Zimbabwean Telecommunications Expert, Dr Cosmas Zavazava has made history by winning elections for the powerful and coveted Director Telecommunications Development Bureau (BDT) position at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) after an electrifying three rounds of voting at the ongoing ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Bucharest, Romania.
Zimbabwe has never occupied an elective position in any of the UN organs and this victory will go down as a momentous achievement for the country and the SADC region.
For this position, Africa fielded four candidates from Cameroon, The Gambia, Congo Brazavile and Zimbabwe while the other candidates were from Bahamas and Pakistan.
It was a nail-biting encounter as Zimbabwe led in the first round of voting but failed to reach the mandatory threshold of 50% plus 1 votes after garnering 59 votes thus forcing the polls to go to a second round of voting. Bahamas was a close second in the first round with 47 votes, followed by The Gambia with 35 votes. Pakistan, Cameroon and Congo Brazavile had 20, 11 and 8 votes respectively.
Cameroon and Congo Brazzaville withdrew their candidatures in the second round of voting. In this round, Zimbabwe’s votes shot up to 81 but again fell shy of the winning threshold of 91 votes from the 181 ballots cast by the ITU member states in attendance.
Bahamas received 59 votes while the Gambia and Pakistan received 25 and 15 votes, respectively.
The Gambia and Pakistan dropped out of the race after this round leaving only Zimbabwe and Bahamas in the running. In this final ballot, Zimbabwe garnered an impressive 101 votes compared to 63votes polled by Bahamas.
Announcement of this result caused a stamped by delegates who cheered and ululated as they rushed to congratulate Dr Zavazava and the Zimbabwe delegation, which was led by Deputy Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services, Hon Dingimuzi Phuti deputised by POTRAZ Director General, Dr Gift Kallisto Machengete. Dr Machengete Chaired the Dr Zavazava Campaign Team where he also doubled as Campaign manager and strategist for the campaign.
The campaign team also comprised officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services, Office of the President and Cabinet and POTRAZ.
The ITU is a specialised organisation of the United Nation (UN). The union meets every four years to elect its Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General and Directors its three Bureau’s, namely Radio Communications Bureau, Telecommunication Standadisation Bureau and Telecommunications Development Bureau.
As Director Telecommunications Development Bureau, Dr Zavazava will be responsible for the development arm of the ITU, which facilitates development projects in Developing Countries, Small Island Developing States and Underdeveloped areas of the world.
Prior to this latest appointment, Dr Zavazava was working as Chief of Department, Partnerships for Digital Development in the BDT responsible for strategic partnerships, engagement with industry and private sector, resource mobilization and projects implementation.He also spent many years working as Chief of Department forProjects and Knowledge Management in the Telecommunication Development Bureau.
Prior to joining ITU, Dr Zavazava served as Head of Zimbabwe Government’s Telecommunication Agency. He also served as a Senior Diplomat for many years.
Dr Zavazava has worked in the Development Sector of the ITU since 2001. He has over 30 years of experience in telecommunications. He holds impeccable qualifications in telecommunications, business management, law, and international relations. He also holds a doctorate in multilateral trade. Over the years, he successfully implemented many projects and initiatives, mobilized resources, and negotiated partnerships. He has demonstrated extreme dedication and passion in his work.