TO most Zimbabweans following the unfolding political and economic drama in the country, reports that President Emmerson Mnangagwa plans to fly out next week and will be away for two weeks, came as a huge surprise.
Just last week, Mnangagwa announced that he was cutting short his leave to resolve the strike by doctors which has crippled health services in the country, projecting him as a caring leader with the plight of his people at heart.
His deputy, who was acting at the time, Constantino Chiwenga, had made a mess of things.
But, shockingly our “listening President” has chosen to fly out for two weeks and be far from the madding crowd before resolving the said strike while the rest of the public service are planning more industrial action.
If he was that caring, how does he justify his decision to fly for the 26th foreign trip of his young presidency, gobbling millions in scarce hard currency, while fuel shortages have ground the country to a halt?
His spokesperson George Charamba claimed he was invited, but it would have been better if he delegated his deputy and other Cabinet ministers to those foreign jaunts while he remains behind and tackle the growing discontent against his disputed rule.
What this shows is that Mnangagwa does not believe his people are struggling. He projected himself during the election campaign as a listening President, but the silence in the cockpit when the ship is navigating turbulences is showing otherwise.
Teachers have given a 14-day ultimatum to go on strike; in hospitals there are no medicines; in shops the prices are beyond the reach of many, and yet the President sees this as an opportune time to go on holiday, so to speak.
Yes, he might be keen to sign “economic deals” as Charamba wants us to believe, but of the multiple billion dollar deals he claimed to have cut since coming into power in 2017, none have materialised.
This raises another question on whether the people are being told the truth about these deals or it is a case of a President blowing taxpayers’ money to cut personal deals.
Mnangagwa should come clean on these deals. The people are struggling; they want proper health from motivated doctors, they want affordable medicines, proper and affordable education, fuel, money and other things. It is high time the President takes his people seriously and be with them during this time of need, otherwise he won’t be viewed as any different from his predecessor, Robert Mugabe, who spent more time on flights than in office.