Jet-setting ED divides nation

OPINION is sharply divided over President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s costly foreign trips at a time the country is mourning the death of more than 300 Cyclone Idai victims, the Daily News can report.
Following the tragedy about a fortnight ago, Mnangagwa declared the calamity a national disaster.

He also dedicated two days of national mourning.
It is, however, his decision to leave the country on Saturday for a day’s visit to Angola in the midst of the crisis that has divided the nation. Barely a day after returning from Angola, Mnangagwa is expected to leave for South Africa today for yet another official visit.

Former Finance minister Tendai Biti took to twitter on Saturday to accuse the president of taking advantage of the two days of morning to evade responsibility.  “So the usurper declares two days of mourning. Our people did not require mourning they required effective disaster management. They required schools to be closed and communities evacuated. This did not happen. Then the usurper has the indecency of running away during mourning. #Shame,” Biti wrote on Twitter.

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme weighed in, opining that the 76 year-old Zanu PF leader had his priorities mixed up and that this could be misconstrued for lack of empathy and compassion for the victims of the tragedy. “In times of tragedy good leaders stay with their people at home and lead mourning and rescue and recovery efforts from the front,” Saungweme said.

“Look at how the Mozambique president (Filipe Nyusi) is doing. He is home and with the affected. Look at how New Zealand Prime Minister (Jacinda Arden) did after the shooting. Even today she is still with the victims and their families.

Political analyst Vivid Gwede said any leader faced with such an unprecedented disaster situation would cut on travel spending and channel resources to save lives and comfort those in dire straits. 
Said Gwede: “With Cyclone Idai we have not only witnessed the weakness of government institutions, but serious moral questions are being asked of those in positions of power.”

Government yesterday said any suggestion that Mnangagwa should have stayed at home to mourn with the nation was misplaced.
“When the president proclaimed the two days of mourning he did not suggest that the country should be on its toes, he simply meant that the national focus should be with the victims and their families, it is not about switching off Zimbabwe,’’ said the permanent secretary in the ministry of Information Nick Mangwana.

“All hospitals were functional, airports open and all people doing their business yet you expect the president to be not working. That is a simplistic way of looking at things, the country has to continue functioning and even the dead would want to see that so that relief and aid continue to go to those that are in need,” he said.

Macdonald Lewanika, a social commentator, said faced with competing national assignments; Mnangagwa had a difficult balancing act to perform. He said while the president could have gain more political capital by spending the two days commiserating with the bereaved, it was also critical for government business to continue even when the nation is mourning.

“We cannot and should not expect a president to be hands on each and every matter, and we cannot and should not expect everything to stop because we are bereaved. Life goes on, and it is a strategic leader who sees the need for his people to mourn and allows it through the period, but also accepts the reality that the world is not stopping and continues with the practical work of the presidency - after all what in real terms can he do besides console his people if he stays at home, at the risk of losing practical and tangible opportunities for those who remain alive from his regional peers?” Lewanika asked rhetorically.

Lawyer and opposition MDC-T politician Obert Gutu said the foreign trips were necessary for the country to avoid total isolation.
“He (Mnangagwa) is determined to maintain good and strong relations with fellow African countries within the region and beyond.

I would say this is one of the more subtle effects of sanctions that have been imposed on Zimbabwe by the West. These sanctions make the Zanu PF government very vulnerable and also desperate to cling to regional solidarity in order to avoid total and complete international isolation,” Gutu said.

Mnangagwa’s situation has not been made any easier by the fact that he has had to cut short about three of his foreign trips after tragedy befell the nation in his wake.
In January for example, he abandoned his annual holiday after his deputy Constantino Chiwenga failed to contain a strike by junior doctors which had paralysed the health sector.
The job action started well before he Mnangagwa left for his annual vacation.
In the same month, he was forced to cut short his trip to Davos via Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan after the army was deployed to crush protesters resulting in in the death of 16 unarmed civilians throughout the country.

Only recently Mnangagwa was again forced to cut short his trip to the United Arab Emirates to attend to the Cyclone Idai crisis.

    Comments (12)

    So Chamira joy-ride in a scotch cart can be said to be important for Manicaland?

    Monz - 25 March 2019

    Scarfmore Kendege, we thought we left it behind with Bob, seems its even now worse. At every given opportunity out he flies, half of the money he spending globe trotting is enough to buy medication for one hospital for the whole year. Just shows does not care about the country unless its about getting onto the plane.

    Kufandada - 25 March 2019

    Monz you have a leader who was faced with the same situation but staying at home when he could be at the same gatherings that Ruka Chivende went to!!!!!!!! That isn't a caring leader, that you speak of what "Chamira" did shows he is the defacto people's leader because he holds no government position but you mention him for what?

    Qawe laMaqawe - 25 March 2019

    Flying around from one African country to another attending meaningless meetings producing nothing constructive- these trips are designed for personal glorification and enrichment. Mnangagwa is as crooked as they come. Nothing good will come from this type of leaders.

    Ken Sharpe - 25 March 2019

    ZanuPF, Mnangagwa , Mangawa, Mutodi et al - they have never given the people of this country one thought - they are just not interested in the citizens of this country - just like Mugabe. Now we have a turn-coat in the midst of all this _ Obert Gutu.

    Is that so? - 26 March 2019

    Iwe nyara chamisa is not President of Zimbabwe. leave him alone. President wepi asina hanya nevanhu kunge musatanist

    ruth - 26 March 2019

    Anyone who still has hope that Mnangagwa will do anything meaningful to rescue the comatose economy needs to have their heads examined by a competent head specialist.Mnangagwa had nothing to offer when he bulldozed his way to presidency.For him it was just an opportunity to fullfill his old dream of one day becoming a president and damn the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe.For him just pfeee muhu president was him main brief and nothing more.I was at pains in trying to tell people how worse this guy was compared to old Bob.Even those that used to be very critical of Zanu pf were on the fore fornt of saying "Lets give ED a chance".Little did they knew that they were actually giving him a chance to worsen an already bad situation.How could they support someone who had spent his entire life under the shadow of a hardened dictator like Mugabe?Dont they knew that most of the bad things that used to happen during Mugabe's tenure were the brain child of Ngwena?Dissapearances without a trace,Gukurahundi,intra party and opposition assasinations,tortures,election rigging and so forth.No matter how appealing a person from zanu pf can be,as long as the person has the zanu pf tag,the country's economy will continue to be in doldrums.Zanu pf is a mafia,and there are actually people within the gang who are powerful than whoever is the president of the day.Keep on giving these zanu pf devils another chance and you are only prolonging your suffering and at the same time killing your children's future.Wake up people!

    janana wa Bikaz madhogodhogo - 26 March 2019

    Tongombeya Scarfmore Ruka Chivende, thats his name. ED Pfeee

    tinotenda - 26 March 2019

    It is diabolical for zanupf and its government to think that the head of state is always the best and only marketer/ambassador of the country. The country can be equally if not better represented by either the foreign ministry and embassies across the globe. ED's appetite for air-travel is shocking and chocking little available resources, one cannot help it but to speculate that there is some personal benefit derived. How can one declare national mourning then goes for a game of golf with friends nothing beats this irresponsibility.

    Sinyo - 27 March 2019

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    Dr.Jeth - 28 March 2019

    He thinks he is taking precautionary measures for his security not knowing it's only God who guarantees your safety.

    yohwe - 28 March 2019

    these guys are out to milk us dry. People are dying in hospital with no bandages and not even a panado . U zanoids are a heartless lot but time will catch up with you one day for we have lost loved ones are jobless sleep on empty stomaches whislt u are flying planes at 74000 us an hour this is so painful

    chief charumbira - 30 March 2019

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