PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has brought a new political culture in Zimbabwe in how citizens interact among themselves and with the State, leading reforms that embody a truly new dispensation, Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services secretary Mr Ndabaningi Nick Mangwana has said.
The Head of State has kept true to his word of being a “Listening President” and opened up dialogue on the Gukurahundi issue while instituting the Political Actors Dialogue and re-engagement with Western countries, as part of a new approach in governance and statecraft.
In an editorial published in today’s issue, Mr Mangwana says President Mnangagwa had mapped a new path for Zimbabwe both locally and internationally.
Since assuming office in November 2017, when he has said the country was witnessing a “new and unfolding democracy” during his inauguration, President Mnangagwa has opened lines of mutual dialogue with victims of Gukurahundi, traditional leaders, civic society, churches, political parties, the media and industry.
The Political Actors Dialogue platform which was launched in February this year and brings together over 18 political leaders has since received worldwide acclaim.
On the international front, President Mnangagwa has reach out to previously hostile Western countries, a feat which has resulted in the historic launch of a formal dialogue with the European Union and efforts to reconnect with the United States of America.
Mr Mangwana says the Head of State had laid a firm foundation for national healing by removing the veil of taboo on the Gukurahundi issue.
“. . .President Mnangagwa began a process of broaching arguably the most unpleasant of taboos of our young nation — the Gukurahundi issue, that had long been spoken of in hushed tones.
“Part of the change in Zimbabwe’s political approach under President Mnangagwa was him opening discussions about Gukurahundi (and related subjects such as marginalisation).
“With that single act of candour, President Mnangagwa opened the way for national discourse and introspection and a healing process that will ensure that the country is at peace with itself,” Mr Mangwana writes.
He says as a result of President Mnangagwa’s determination for frank dialogue, Gukurahundi will “no longer be considered anathema” nor “fodder” for opposition parties.
“Following up on his inauguration speech promise of being a listening President, The Head of State acceded to a request for meeting by a group of civic organisations under the banner of the Matabeleland collective.
“Following the meeting, the President through Government, immediately facilitated the following: acquisition of identity documents for Gukurahundi victims, legal exhumations of Gukurahundi victims upon request from families, open discussion on Gukurahundi; and provision of medical assistance to Gukurahundi victims,” narrates Mr Mangwana.
On international dialogue, Mr Mangwana says the President had successfully charmed Western countries like the US into sending messages of re-engagement.
“For more than a decade and half, there had not been any formal contact between the European Union (EU) and the Government of Zimbabwe. But now the era of berating bellicose against the West is over.
“Negotiations between the Zimbabwe and the EU have started off at the ministerial level and will soon escalate to further diplomatic heights. This is the hallmark of the re-engagement policy; a foreign policy based on new frontiers being opened and old diplomatic frontiers being revitalised,” Mr Mangwana says.
“Even countries such as the United States of America, chose the delicate moment to send a message of re-engagement.
“Relations with the US are thawing at a decent pace, resulting in increased cooperation in sectors that will benefit Zimbabweans at large.”