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President Mnangagwa, you need to attend to Political acumenship, legacy & perceptions !!!

27 Aug 2020 at 15:06hrs | Views
In 2013, the former Zimbabwe President, Robert Mugabe, upon his arrival at Harare International Airport, speaking to journalists, shortly after his arrival , he said in Shona , " Nhai weduwe imi, tonzwa kuti mitengo yakwira mumashops, kwete, hatidi izvozvo, mangwana chaiye, ngaudzokere pavanga uri". This was Robert Mugabe, those who knew him, and by the time, he arrived in town, with his Zim one, motorcade, most shops would be seen removing stickers, and reducing prices, putting new prices, and when Mugabe spoke, the whole nation knew it was serious business, he had none of it, and people would know that a Statesman has arrived.

Do you know, during Mugabe's reign, if he called for a rally, someone would travel for a long distance, from Mutungagore, Mukamba, Chigora, to Rukweza, to see Mugabe, going back without eating anything, simply to go and see Mugabe. Some would call it in Shona, I quote , " Mugabe, airema", meaning he had a lot of respect. After the event, in the evening, people would spend the whole evening discussing what Mugabe had said during the rally, and still continue, the following morning. That's political acumenship. His Presidency was still carrying a lot of weight.

In 1994, Mugabe made a star rally appearance at Rukweza, in Nyazura, 211 km from Harare, along Dorowa road. Rukweza High school, is next to Dorowa - Murambinda Road. When all people had gathered there, it was an exciting moment, and even those who were herding cattle, refused to go , they wanted to witness Mugabe, the First Republican President of Zimbabwe. I still remember very well, I refused to herd cattle, I insisted it was not my duty, because I wanted to see Robert Mugabe. Surprisingly, Mugabe came by road, and people were still waiting for him at the grounds, yet he was already at the stage. Everyone laughed, and he made stunning jokes, sharing lighter moment with villagers, the venue was fully packed, noone was driven to the rally, and it was day to remember, and diarised.

During Mugabe's reign, everyone would remember all Cabinet Ministers, Defence you would know it is Moven Enoch Mahachi, Finance , Patrick Chinamasa, Education, Water and rural social amenities, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Information Minister, Prof Jonathan Moyo, Foreign Affairs Minister, Samuel Mbembegwi, and Minister without portfolio, Edson Zvobgo etc, and you would experience his Statesmanship, and his Presidency would carry a lot of weight.

To be quite honest, I only remember, two or three members in Mnangagwa's Government, the daily appearence Minister of Information, Monica Mutsvangwa, Muthuli Ncube and who else by the way? , Perhaps, Kazembe Kazembe. Noone is interested to watch news. Mr President, you need to re-organize your team, and set a new tone of weight and respect within your Statesmanship in the Government of the day. Noone is interested to watch ZTV anymore, the moment they see Monica Mutsvangwa after that very song, she is always briefing journalists on daily basis, perhaps, people have entered into campaign trail of succession battles, ahead of elective conventions or Congress, and positioning themselves for future roles. Honestly, how can someone be on ZTV, on daily basis? Leadership, sometimes, you can use your juniors, I have never seen the Information Perm Secretary on ZTV, barely you would see Energy Mutodi, when he was on ZTV. I only saw Mutodi, on ZTV when he was distributing undergarments and covid 19 resources to villagers. Something is wrong in the Government, and honestly this must be corrected.

In Mash Central, in 2008, during the code - named campaign trail, " Vamugabe mu office", almost everyone had made a decision that the old man must retire from Presidency, it was high time, he should pass the button to someone else, perhaps the MDC Leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. During a live televised star rally, Mugabe would make jokes, even if you didn't want to laugh, you were forced to laugh, and on your way home, people would discuss his speech, and this is what we call Presidency.

I never attended any single politburo meeting, one Former Zanu PF Minister whispered to me this other day, Mugabe would chair a Politburo meeting at Zanu PF Headquarters, and from 10 am to 1500 hrs, noone would even cough, or utter a word, and people when he made jokes in the meeting, people were left in stiches, and everyone was in agreement of what he said during his presentations. There would be silence in the meeting. When Mugabe, called for a meeting, noone would dare to abscond .

A fortnight ago, it was reportedly that Mnangagwa was explaining to the Politburo meeting why some members absconded, and it was shared that more than 7/10 members absconded, giving few excuses on why they decided not to attend the meeting.

I follow Zambian Presidency and news a lot, His Excellence Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who succeeded Michael Sata, the PF founder. I now see the reason why, Sata insisted that a private jet be send to Namibia to pick Lungu, who was on Government business, when Michael Sata, seriously fell ill. When Lungu arrived, Sata signed the instruments of power, and handed them over to Edgar Lungu. When Lungu speaks, Zambian listens. He doesn't speaks always, and he is not on ZTV always, he may even take seven days to respond to any issue, sometimes he even delegates to his Ministers, and the Presidency is not vulnerable or exposed.

In 2018, during the Mash Central rally in Bindura, when President Mnangagwa was addressing the rally, I saw videos of people running away from the rally, Zanu PF supporters, police wrestling with them, to allow the President to finish addressing first, before they allowed anyone to leave the venue. It was rare during Mugabe's reign to witness such kind of barbaric behavior. We witnessed that kind of behavior, during his last days, when his wayward and motormouthed wife spoiled his legacy by interfering in Zanu PF internal politics. President Mnangagwa must reflect on what happened during Bindura rally, and his internal Advisors, and those surrounding him, must give him the Honest opinion, on why all this happening to him.

When Zim 1 motorcade was passing during Mugabe's era, everyone would come outside, even from buildings, some would leave their cars open, just to witness Mugabe inside the vehicle, though it was tinted, citizens would have joy after having a glimpse of the convoy.

Few months ago, President Emmerson Mnangagwa addressed a rally in Kuwadzana, where he told residents that they must survive on Vegetables and potatoes, and he vehemently said " Munofanira kudya muriwo nama potatoes", and most residents, the few that had come, started walking away. Within minutes, I saw the statement circulating on social media, pumped with a lot of insults heeped on the incumbency. Why? I always ask myself this question, but why Mr President?

Mnangagwa must begin to reflect, and erode those around you, giving you wrong Advisory, to make wrong decisions ahead of crucial meetings.

I have to be frank and honesty with you Mr President, you are slowly losing the grip, and noone listens to you anymore, even in public places, you listen from comments in bars, streets, shops, citizens are openly attacking you from left, right and centre, and on this you must quickly reflect, and work on what went wrong from November 27, 2017.

You need to deal with perceptions, particularly those around you, doing propaganda and defending your views. The moment people see Monica Mutsvangwa and Nick Mangwana on ZTV , people switch to other channels, which makes it complicated for Government programs to be implemented faithfully. Why would someone be on ZTV on daily basis? What is the reason?

There are some things you have said since the beginning of your tenure, as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, positive views, but the moment people see you on ZTV or on the program, they change their mind, and switch on to other issues, but why? This is the question you must be dealing with.

Sometimes you have to work on perceptions.

What is perceptions?

 Perceptions - The ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses .

" The normal limits to human perception"

2. The way in which something is regarded , understood, or interpreted

3. Perceptions - Refer to the set of processes we use to make sense of the different stimuli, we're presented with"

I want President Mnangagwa to take number one definition, and underline the phrase " Ability", and proceed to take note of three strong phrases :

1. See
2. Hear
3. Become

The above three words, combined with the word " Ability", will shape your legacy. It would be sad for you to have a sad departure, after your predecessor, left in a dramatic way from office. The reason why people restrained themselves on the former President, it is simply because there was a little semblance of respect on him, if it happens on you, it may be difficult, even your own people, or inner circle to restrain themselves on you.

Legacy is very important. You have children, who may still want to buy bread one-day, after your departure, how will they walk in public places?

What will be named after you?

Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo is the Head of Zimbabwe Institute of Strategic Thinking - ZIST, and he can be contacted at

Source - Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo
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