President Mnangagwa has been featured in TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. World leaders also featured on the latest list include American president Donald Trump, Prince Harry (UK), Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French president Emmanuel Macron.
The TIME 100 list by the 95-year-old New York, America-based iconic magazine features individuals recognised for changing the world.
The list is selected by TIME editors from nominations made by TIME 100 alumni (former nominees), including the magazine’s international writing staff.
President Mnangagwa’s recognition matches Deng Xiaoping’s feat when the Chinese reformist leader was nominated as TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year in 1978, shortly after he took over the reins from Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China.
Most notably, President Mnangagwa’s political script is often compared to Mr Deng, who is considered the godfather of China’s economic growth miracle.
In a write-up accompanying the listing, activist Mr Evans Mawarire grudgingly acknowledges some of the qualities that make President Mnangagwa influential.
“The elation that greeted the end of Robert Mugabe’s 37-year reign naturally enough transformed into hopes for his successor. And in his first 100 days, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa spoke of re-engaging, forgiveness, democracy and unity,” said Mr Mawarire.
“He waits for you to speak and only responds when absolutely necessary. As Mugabe learned, he is extremely patient, choosing his moments of response or retaliation carefully,” he added.
President Mnangagwa is joined from the African continent by South African comedian Mr Trevor Noah on the list.
Presidential spokesperson and Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Mr George Charamba yesterday said the recognition should be celebrated by all fair-minded Zimbabweans.
“What it means is that our re-engagement thrust with the erstwhile hostile Western world is beginning to make a positive impact. What we have in this recognition is an acknowledgement of the face of our nation in the President, which means an embracing of the policies of the new dispensation,” said Mr Charamba.
“It’s a good enough foundation for our economic recovery and goals. The TIME is much more than just a magazine. It’s a sensibility of the Western world and for that reason it mirrors an attitude which we must build on.”
Political scientist Mr Tafadzwa Mugwadi said President Mnangagwa must be congratulated “for this global recognition of the positive impact of his leadership in such a short time”.
“This is a vivid signal that his ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ trademark is beginning to attract endorsements from eminent opinion shapers. As such, the people of Zimbabwe should draw inspiration from this emerging African luminary, whose commitment to transforming Zimbabwe and reshaping the political culture is beyond measure,” he said.
“It’s a lesson to upcoming politicians, particularly those in the opposition, that it’s not lies, mischief, thuggery, sensationalism and hypocrisy that draw international attention, but dignity of resolve and clarity of leadership probity.”
Former United Nations secretary-general Mr Kofi Annan recently said Zimbabwe was on the road to recovery and that the nation needed support to reach its full potential.
In a message congratulating Zimbabwe’s 38th Independence anniversary commemorations on Wednesday, Mr Annan acknowledged the political and economic reform processes under President Mnangagwa’s administration and encouraged Zimbabweans to work together during the transition process.
He said the forthcoming harmonised elections due in a few months time, which President Mnangagwa has said would be free,
fair and transparent, were a crucial step towards consolidating gains achieved so far and laying a solid foundation for progress.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr John Mangudya and Special Advisor to the President Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa are currently on a charm offensive to America, the UK and Brussels to lure more foreign direct investment to Harare.
They were expected to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, as observers.
Zimbabwe is working to rejoin the 53-member intergovernmental club of former British colonies.