By Jones Musara- Senior Correspondent
In the early evening of 30 March 2020 the President emerged out of his State House office and headed to the front yard of the State House where he was to address the nation which had dutifully complied with his presidential directive for lock-down. Flanked by his two VPs, the President ploughed straight into his speech which centered on 5 key issues demonstrating a leader leading from the front.
Firstly, the President set the record straight in emphasizing the gravity of the pandemic and citing the damage it has caused across the world including in advanced countries such as Italy, Spain and US where thousands of people have fallen sick whilst others have died. This was crucial in rallying the nation to consistently treat the pandemic seriously in light of the misleading information circulating on social media platforms. Clearly the President demonstrated highest understanding of the strategic importance of information in tackling the pandemic, leading from the front.
Having given perspective to the pandemic, the President moved on to reiterate the rational of his directive asserting that he wanted to avoid the mistakes other nations had made-the mistake of acting late on executing a lock-down. This demonstrates a pro-active President in touch with global trends and taking lessons to protect his nation and his people.
Thirdly, the President re-assured the nation on the measures his Government is pursuing to prepare for all scenarios. These measures include capacitating the medical sector to mobilize medical tools required to tackle the pandemic. This is already unfolding in the form of various Private Sector Manufacturers and State Universities producing medical tools such as sanitisers, masks and hand soaps with Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) going the extra mile of producing the much sought after ventilator.
Noting some anxieties among some citizens regarding access to food and medicines during the lock-down, the President once again re-assured the nation on uninterrupted access to these essentials saying, "Let's be clear, food suppliers and food stores will remain open and available. Medical supplies will remain open and available." This reassurance was followed by reiteration that the Security Forces are enforcing the lock-down directive with a listening ear. Again the President led from the front in correcting misconceptions from mischievous elements hell bent on casting our Security Forces as un-listening and hostile to the people.
Concluding his speech, the President make it clear that the lockdown was not a punishment but rather an opportunity to save lives and every citizen had a responsibility to partake in fighting this pandemic by acting responsibly and observing the anti-corona virus instructions such as self-isolation, regular and thorough washing of hands among others.
In the final analysis, we are reminded about some of the real traits of leadership. Real leaders like President ED Mnangagwa do not desert duty and ensconce themselves in comfort and safety. Rather what we are witnessing is a real leader who leaves the comfort and safety of high office to lead from the front physically and tactically.
Instead of staying aloof from the people, the President has remained in constant touch with the people providing guidance, re-assurance and clarifications, all of which are critical in these challenging times where anxiety, disinformation and misconceptions are abounding.