Mangwana is a round peg in a round hole

by Tafara Shumba

The appointment of Mr Ndavaningi Nick Mangwana as a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services is one of the most merited promotion done by President Emmerson Mnangagwa since the advent of the new dispensation.

The appointment was received with unprecedented approval from across the political divide. When Mr Mangwana broke the news on his twitter handle, in no time, the tweet had attracted over 400 sincere congratulations from friend and foe alike. From the comments, one can safely conclude that President Mnangagwa has put a round peg in a round hole. He made an excellent choice for the job.

He has the qualifications, skills and experience to take the Zimbabwe media to greater heights. He has qualifications in Corporate Governance, having worked as a Corporate Governance Consultant and Quality Improvement Manager in the NHS in the UK. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. He also has qualifications in Accounting, Law and Health Sciences.

He is not a newcomer to politics, having worked tirelessly in the Kadoma Zanu PF youth structure before leaving for the UK where he became the party’s UK chairman at a time most Zimbabweans in the diaspora were deeply involved in the MDC activism. He led the group that sought permission from the British Government for Zanu PF to operate in the UK as a political party.

 Mr Mangwana was very vocal in defending Zanu PF especially on social media. Despite volleys of attacks and threats frequently thrown at him, he remained steadfast in defending Zimbabwe. He prolifically contributed to The Herald under his column, view from the Diaspora. So Mangwana is not new to the media fraternity.

He is, therefore, expected to make use of the skills he acquired all these years in the country and abroad in his new assignment. The flagship media in his ministry is the ZBC which he is expected to turn around in step with the international standards. The new secretary has a dream and vision for the public broadcaster. In one of his tweets, he censured ZBC saying it was at the verge of being a national embarrassment.

“It’s our only TV and it’s hooked onto international platforms for all and sundry to view. Its program output is poor quality, unimaginative and misrepresents us. I wonder if there is a non-Zimbabwean who tunes in even to watch the news.

“ZTV should lead our national branding. When people watch it, they should have a feel about the Zimbabwean society and the country at large. I don’t believe what we see there is a reflection of who we are and the brand is wrong…There is need for modernisation there,” wrote Mr Mangwana  in a hard-hitting assessment of the corporation.

The opportunity has been availed to him to modernise ZBC, to improve the quality of its programmes, to make it sell the brand Zimbabwe. All hopes are pinned on him to stop the national broadcaster from being a national embarrassment. The time has come for Mr Mangwana to make his dream come true. However, it is everybody’s hope that he will be given the leverage to fulfil his vision for the Zimbabwean media landscape.

The appointment of Mr Mangwana for that top job is indicative of a President who does not discriminate against anyone. It was uncommon in the previous dispensation to have a Diasporan landing a post of that magnitude.

When the President took over the reins, he engaged with the Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora imploring them to join hands with him in the rebuilding of Zimbabwe. While addressing Zimbabweans living in South Africa, the President said, “I believe that together we can move forward. I am aware of the abundant skills that rest here among you Cdes from Zimbabwe. I appeal to you to come to Zimbabwe. Whenever you come, look for the opportunities that now present themselves.”

Mr Mangwana is one such Zimbabwean who has shown interest in being part of the new Zimbabwe. The President is a man of his word. He kept his promises of sharing the national cake with the Diasporas. He appointed Professor Mthuli Ncube who was working abroad, as the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Honourable Sekai Nzenza is among other Diasporans who was appointed as the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. She was working in Australia.

The appointment of fellow Diasporans must encourage other Zimbabweans working abroad to serve their country as it pays dividend in the fullness of time. The leadership is not lost to their contributions. They must desist from being used by rogue politicians to work against their country.