ED has personal vision, not a national one: Mbofana

President Mnangagwa with his wife Auxilia


By Ruben Mbofana

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s vision can’t be Zimbabwe’s vision. We do not have a national vision.

What we have witnessed over the past six years has been the personalization of mantras, which have been attributed to Mnangagwa’s vision.

All we hear when government or ruling ZANU PF party officials speak is the packaging of the country’s supposed visions as if they were Mnangagwa’s own personal visions.

How many times have we heard this statement, “We are implementing this program/policy in line with President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030”?

Or, “We are building this school in fulfillment of President Mnangagwa’s mantra of ‘Leaving No One and No Place Behind’”.

This is not the only one attributed directly to Mnangagwa.

We also have ‘Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo’.

Even the new ZiG (Zimbabwe Gold) currency is associated with Mnangagwa’s ‘visionary leadership’.

What was that nonsense by Christopher Mutsvangwa (ZANU PF spokesman) about the president now being called ‘Mr. Strong ZiG’?

This then reduces what is supposed to be a collective national vision to a single man’s vision.

In so doing, millions of ordinary Zimbabweans end up not feeling as part and parcel of this vision and not relating to it as their own.

In the end, we have an entire nation not buying into these ideas as they perceive them as Mnangagwa’s personal dreams that have absolutely nothing to do with ordinary Zimbabweans.

Any country that hopes to develop and attain a certain agenda without the buy-in of the population is doomed.

The worst mistake any government can make is personalizing a national vision.

Let me give any example.

Before writing this piece, I googled the phrase ‘Make American Great Again’.

What came up was not entirely surprising.

Wikipedia characterized this as ‘an American political slogan and movement most recently popularized by Donald Trump during his successful 2016 presidential campaign’.

It goes on to say, ‘MAGA (Make America Great Again) is also used to refer to Trump’s political base, or to an individual or group of individuals from within that base (“a MAGA”, “MAGAs”)’.

As can be immediately deduced from this description, the mantra, which was supposed to be a national vision under Trump’s administration, ended up only being identified with only a section of Americans.

In other words, its personalization by Trump and his supporters resulted in it not being adopted and embraced by half the population.

It was reduced to nothing more than a Republican Party – in fact, a Trump camp – slogan.

As such, during and after his tenure as president, the US had not identified itself with ‘Making America Great Again’ – leading to this vision never being fulfilled.

The main reason was that it was politicized as a party or individual vision.

It never transformed into a national vision.

This is the same we witness with such mantras as ‘Vision 2030’, or ‘Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo’, or ‘Leaving No One and No Place Behind’, or even ZiG.

The main reason these will fail is also that they have been politicized and personalized into a Mnangagwa thing.

It does not matter if the mantras were actually Mnangagwa’s brainchild – but they had to be transformed into a national vision that each and every one of us could identify with.

That is their major weakness.

Instead, the government should have ceased associating these mantras with the person of Mnangagwa but made them a truly Zimbabwe thing.

If those in authority were genuine in their belief in these slogans as sincerely national in nature, then they should have adopted more inclusive and all-embracing language when referring to them.

We need to hear such words as, “We are implementing this program/policy in line with Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030”.

Mnangagwa’s name should be kept out of these visions. We are Ignite Media Zimbabwe.

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That way, they will receive the buy-in and total support of the people of Zimbabwe.

Mnangagwa and his administration should not blame anyone (particularly so-called ‘detractors’) when their policies and programs are inevitably resisted by the nation.

They only have themselves to blame.

• Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700

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