Approachable presidency, the panacea to national engagement

Approachable presidency, the panacea to national engagement
Published: 16 January 2018 (280 Views)
Since taking the reins of power end of November last year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa's presence in office has been felt far and wide. Locally, he has made impact on the political terrain with his charismatic leadership both at Government and political party level.

President ED, as he is informally and affectionately known, has also had his footprint on power felt in the opposition political party corridors. This saw scores of opposition political party heads attending his historic crowd pulling inauguration. Even the Brazil soccer legends match has failed to attract such bumper crowds. Never in Zimbabwe's history has there been a concentration of heads of states and governments converged in Zimbabwe in bigger numbers than what happened at the national sports stadium on November 24. Legendary former heads of state in the region including Kenneth Kaunda and Sam Nujoma came leading their successors who included Rupiah Banda.

President Mnangagwa arrived in office and sliced off layers upon layers of security details, characteristic of his predecessor. It is easy to catch ED's handshake in public because of the thinned human wall. Over and above this, he also shelled the invisible gulf separating the presidency and the povo. In so little time, President ED has engaged more people in record time, reaching policy makers and ordinary persons alike. The first Lady Mrs Auxillia Mnangagwa has not lagged behind either. Her handshake and embrace is now a ubiquitous national symbol, more so to the underprivileged and downtrodden.

As I sat to write this, the President is airborne to Luanda to meet President João Lourenço in his diplomatic engagement efforts which he is spreading beyond the country's borders. No country can survive in solitude; it has to remain a member of the international family of nations. This engagement is done by the country's number one citizen, the President. In his inaugural speech, the president even made clear reference to this and so, his engagements efforts are far from being impulsive actions. This re-engagement effort, in his inaugural speech, the President said thus, "We fully re-affirm our membership to the family of nations, and express our commitment to playing our part in all regional, continental and international organizations and arrangements in order to make our modest contribution towards a prosperous and peaceful world order."

Back home, the Chancellor of State Universities President Mnangagwa, spent a day caucusing with Vice Chancellors of State Universities, exchanging notes and new knowledge on how to improve the higher education sector and the economy as a final consequence of this effort.

It is such an open door policy which gives leaders access to some unsaid sources useful information and knowledge in statecraft. Once a leader is endowed with information from every stratum of society, the better governor he becomes.

On his return from Luanda, tables are already being set in Gweru for another meeting with the country's chiefs. Chiefs are the custodians of the national cultures, varied as they are in their respective communities. Chiefs are also the custodians of all the rural land, land which was bequeathed to us by our ancestors. A meeting with the chiefs will be useful in gauging the mood of the rural folks, informing Government at the highest level of the aspirations of the country's majority population. The President has many ways of receiving information of what the chiefs and their subjects want. Availing himself so humbly to such an important national institution tells that the President is a humble servant leader who does not want chiefs to have the trouble of visiting him, but has instead paid them a courtesy call in the country's most central city, Gweru.

Since his inauguration, the President has been seen in places previously never seen a sitting president strolling upon. It is with such humility that leaders' are wrought into statesmen of global repute. Go ED GO!

- Chigumbu Warikandwa

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