President Mnangagwa: A servant leader’s call for serving with humility explained President Mnangagwa

Tongai Dana


During the recent swearing in ceremony for Cabinet Ministers, President Mnangagwa implored the new Ministers to “serve the people with humility”.

These words echoed so loud in my ears and I hope they echoed the same in the ears of those who had the honour to be appointed to serve the country in the capacity of Ministers and Deputy Ministers.

Why so? because President Mnangagwa is a leader who is out to set a precedent of transformative and good guidance for the now and future generations.

He has kept his word and promise of servant leadership.

In 2018, President Mnangagwa pledged that his leadership philosophy was servant leadership and indeed in the past five years servant leadership is what we saw.

Upon being elected for the second term to continue as President of Zimbabwe, he has expressed the intention to lead with humility and prioritise the needs of the people of Zimbabwe.

However, it is important to note that the perception and assessment of leadership and its alignment with servant leadership principles can vary among different individuals and stakeholders.

Personally, my interpretation of serving with humility is “people centred leadership” guided and drawing from the biblical scripture in Philemon 2:3 which says:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

This is what President Mnangagwa instructed the new Cabinet Ministers when he said “Serve the people with humility”.

President Mnangagwa is not just giving this instruction but he has lived this in the past five years and he knows it can be done.

Some initiatives and actions taken by President Mnangagwa that align with servant leadership principles and his heart to put people first include:

Economic reforms

The President has initiated economic reforms aimed at revitalising Zimbabwe’s economy and improving the livelihoods of its citizens. These reforms have included measures to attract investment, promote business growth, and address issues such as unemployment and poverty. These indeed yielded results.

Engagement with international community

The President has sought to rebuild relationships with the international community and attract foreign investment.

This approach was aimed at improving the country’s standing and fostering economic development and it indeed yielded results.

Anti-corruption efforts

President Mnangagwa has spoken out against corruption and initiated anti-corruption campaigns. He has emphasised the need for transparency, accountability, and ethical behaviour in Government institutions. This is yielding results; Zimbabwe is transforming out of the culture of corruption but hard work.

Empowerment and development programmes

Government has introduced programmes to empower and uplift marginalised communities, including initiatives to support small-scale farmers, promote education, and provide healthcare services.

This is yielding results, those who have benefited can testify. Many will benefit as no one and no place will be left behind.

Having lived and demonstrated the importance of servant leadership, President Mnangagwa has demonstrated to the new leaders that leadership is a responsibility and an opportunity to serve the greater good.

By embodying the principles of servant leadership in our diversity in terms of political affiliations as Zimbabweans we can foster trust, collaboration, and positive change in the political landscape, ultimately working towards a more inclusive and prosperous society.

Servant leadership emphasises the importance of serving others and putting their needs first.

It involves active listening, empathy, collaboration, and a commitment to ethical behaviour.

Serving with humility in political leadership is an approach where leaders prioritise the needs and interests of the people they represent over their personal ambitions or ego.

It involves adopting a mindset of service and a willingness to listen, learn and collaborate with others.

The recently appointed leaders should learn from President Mnangagwa.

 Putting the people first

The President and the nation expecting the new Cabinet Ministers to prioritise the well-being and interests of the people they serve above their own.

They are expected to genuinely listen to their constituents, seek to understand their concerns, and make decisions based on the greater good rather than personal gain.

Openness to feedback

The new leaders are expected to be humble leaders who are open to receiving feedback, both positive and negative, and see it as an opportunity for growth.

They are expected to create an environment where diverse perspectives are welcomed, and they actively seek input from experts, advisors, and the public.

This will help them make more informed decisions and avoid the pitfalls of arrogance or self-righteousness.

Collaborative approach

The leadership will also perform better if they promote collaborations. Leaders should therefore actively seek partnerships and build coalitions to address complex challenges.

Empowering others

Leaders are expected to create an environment that fosters trust, encourages innovation, and allows others to grow and contribute their unique skills and perspectives for the development of the country as it marches towards becoming an Upper Middle-Income State by 2030.

By empowering their teams and citizens in general, they will build a strong support system and cultivate future leaders.

Practicing empathy and compassion

Servant and humble leaders demonstrate empathy and compassion towards the people they serve. Leaders should make efforts to understand the challenges and struggles of individuals and communities, and work towards policies and initiatives that address those needs.

To achieve this, the new Cabinet Ministers should strive to be accessible, approachable, and genuinely care about the well-being of those they lead.

Leading by example

The new leadership should lead by example, demonstrating integrity, ethical behaviour, and a commitment to serving the public interest.

It is not good for leaders to use their position for personal gain. They should adhere to the same standards and expectations they set for others and their actions should inspire trust, respect from the people they lead.

Serving with humility in political leadership is not a sign of weakness but rather a strength that fosters collaboration, trust, and effective governance. It allows leaders to connect with the people make informed decisions, and work towards the betterment of society as a whole.

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