BY WINSTONE ANTONIO

THE Modelling Industry Watchdog of Zimbabwe (MIWZ) has raised a red flag over some pageant licence holders gambling with the models’ lives by hosting pageants and grooming classes in violation of the COVID-19 protocols to stall the spread of the infectious disease.

Several countries including Zimbabwe have implemented national lockdowns and banned public gatherings.

The Miss Zimbabwe Grand organisers reportedly hosted this year’s edition of the pageant last Saturday at the Zimbabwe College of Music in Harare in defiance of calls to postpone the pageant, which was won by Kimberly Mayoyo (Masvingo).

Gamuchirai Munyoro (Harare), who is reigning Miss Tourism People’s Choice, and Patience Nomazulu Gumbo (Bulawayo), who is Miss Zuri Africa-Zimbabwe were adjudged Miss Pan African queen first and second runners-up, respectively.

Mashonaland West’s Eva Muzondiwa was the Face of Miss Zimbabwe Grand while Nothando Ncube (Harare) was the People’s Choice winner.

MIWZ spokesperson Wilbert Rukato yesterday said any pageants held in violation of government’s COVID-19 lockdown measures would not be recognised, while the winners and organisers would be brought before the courts.

“We have a deadly pandemic on our hands affecting even first world countries worldwide who are battling with this killer virus. Surprisingly there are those among us here in Zimbabwe who are not following laid down directives put in place to defeat COVID-19, therefore putting all our lives in peril. All lives matter, models’ lives matter,” Rukato said.

“We strongly condemn any persons and entities associated with the modelling industry that are in violation of any COVID-19 lockdown measures. We also condemn the models participating at live pageants and anybody supporting this very irrational, irresponsible behaviour that has the potential to put our industry at odds with the people of Zimbabwe, the situation on the ground as well as the laws of this country.”

Rukato said the modelling industry should follow all regulations put in place by the World Health Organisation, global health experts and the government, adding that those who were hosting pageants, runway parades or group classes were doing it for reasons that did not promote the local modelling industry or
protect lives.

“Putting the lives of our people in danger is not what we are about, we are an industry of excellence, professionalism, glitz and glamour, but more importantly order. Any organisation or individual within our industry who violates the COVID-19 containment measures must be brought to the fore to answer for such, and it must be known that they are doing it on their own and for reasons that do not promote our industry or protect lives,” he said.

“The holding of pageants, runway parades, group classes or group photographic sessions is strictly forbidden under the current measures put in place by our government and as an industry we are abiding by all the terms and conditions put in place, because we understand the reasons and fully support the preservation of the lives of our people. We must adhere to COVID-19 containment measures.”

Miss Zimbabwe Grand’s director Mashmac Machena, however, said they were “cleared” to host the pageant.

“We got cleared. Let me talk to your boss,” he said.

Do you have a coronavirus story? You can email us on: news@alphamedia.co.zw