HARARE – Zimbabwean politicians have praised South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa for hosting South Africa’s inaugural public-Presidential virtual symposium.
On Tuesday evening, Ramaphosa engaged with members of the public on a one on one basis on issues such as COVID-19, Gender Based Violence, economy and the country’s lockdown regulations amongst others.
“What President Ramaphosa did is something which President Mnangagwa should emulate, in fact the whole of Africa should follow the same narrative.
Members of the executive should engage with the public from a grass root level as this will help them in knowing what is really happening.
President Mnangagwa is surrounded by people who are feeding him with the wrong information he has to organise a public symposium and engage with members of the public. He has to know what is actually happening on the ground, he shouldn’t rely on hearsay,” said Linda Masarira, leader of the opposition LEAD party.
Another leader of the opposition, UDA party, Dr. Daniel Shumba who is a former army colonel and member of the Central Committee of the ruling ZANU-PF, acceded to the notion of holding a public symposium, “indeed, it is important for a President to publicly engage with citizens, and pronounce and share a national vision. President Ramaphosa is spot on,” said Dr. Shumba.
However, the UDA leader also cited that although social media is now the new normal of engaging with the public there was need for the country to reduce its data costs for the benefit of the masses.
“Social media if managed well, is an effective means of communication, however, Zimbabwe still needs to properly regulate and reduce the high extortionate cost levels of data,” added Dr. Shumba.
However, Leopold Munhende a political journalist with newzimbabwe.com argued that it was a necessity for President Mnangagwa to engage with the public especially during this time of COVID-19.
“Mnangagwa should speak. We do not know the stage at which we are now because the police and army are behaving in a haphazard manner. We do not know who is allowed in town and who is not anymore and state security is taking advantage of this to abuse people’s rights,” said Munhende.
For Dr. Nkululeko Sibanda a political analyst and the spokesperson of Mr. Nelson Chamisa, leader of the MDC Alliance, there is no need for President Mnangagwa to host a public symposium, “the masses don’t take Mnangagwa seriously or as someone who is serious about his job.”