Why ED is a listening President

Mukachana Hanyani

Some people have been wondering the whole time, why President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is called a “Listening President.” The description, which has grown to become his second nickname after the world-famous one, ED, was derived from his knack for making swift interventions to issues that the nation would have raised.

Since President Mnangagwa ascended to power in November 2017, he has made sure that challenges that the country had been facing are attended to without delay. To start with, motorists have been finding it difficult to drive safely on various roads around the country due to their state of disrepair. For that reason, President Mnangagwa introduced the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2, better known as ERRP2 to ensure that most roads are repaired.

After the introduction of ERPP, roads across the country began to be rehabilitated with the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge road getting the highest priority as it carries some of the region’s goods traffic. The need to rehabilitate the road was raised during the Old Dispensation but the work was delayed due to bureaucracy.  Although work is still in progress, driving on the rehabilitated stretches of highway is a great experience.

According to the 25 March 2022 edition of The Herald, about Z$1 billion has been released for road rehabilitation, gravelling and drainage structuring so far. It is further said that about 2000km of road has been gravelled with 6627, 9km being regraded and levelled. About 701 drainage structures have been made across the country, cementing the mantra that President Mnangagwa is a listening President, who always listens to the people and acts on their concerns.

President Mnangagwa is not only looking at rehabilitating roads, but listens to all concerns that are raised by people and then acts accordingly. People have been desperate that ZUPCO was failing to provide adequate transport for urban dwellers to commute to and from work as well as to their various destinations. For that reason, the President quickly made a proclamation on 7 May 2022 that private transport operators should be allowed to ferry commuters in line with new regulations, which Government will craft and announce soon. This effectively reversed the ZUPCO monopoly on commuter transportation which had been in place since March 2020. Once the private transport operators kick in, commuters’ transport woes will be a thing of the past.

The President further announced that those importing motor vehicles for use in the transport business would do so duty-free, an announcement which brought joy to that industry. This will enable the passenger transport industry to import enough buses so that the country will have the 3 000 buses needed for it to deal effectively with the prevailing transport challenges.

As if the timely interventions on transport problems were not enough, the listening President moved on to tackle the problem afflicting the business community to a point of ripping off consumers through unnecessary and unjustified price increases. President Mnangagwa allowed those with free funds to import basic commodities into Zimbabwe from different countries without paying duty. This has brought relief to those who can afford to travel to countries such as South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and Botswana among others to import basic commodities for their consumption.

Zimbabweans have also been concerned with how traffic officers from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) were using spikes when carrying out their traffic duties. The ZRP officers sometimes caused unnecessary panic among drivers, causing some to drive with reckless abandon thereby causing preventable accidents. As a listening leader, President Mnangagwa through the Commissioner General of ZRP, Godwin Matanga, banned the use of spikes last week bringing relief to motorists and the travelling public.

For these and other issues, which were not mentioned above where the President acted on and averted some potential calamities, who could dispute that President Mnangagwa is truly a listening President? Since he came into office, he has addressed most of the issues which the people raised, demonstrating that he is truly a listening President.