Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has received tens of thousands of messages from Zimbabweans after he opened a WhatsApp chat platform last week to connect with the people and promote dialogue.
He started engaging citizens on WhatsApp adding to his other social media platforms Twitter and Facebook.
Posting on his Twitter and Facebook page on Sunday, President Mnangagwa said the engagement was important in the country’s rebuilding process.
“As a listening president, I am fortunate to have so many possible channels of communication with the people of Zimbabwe. Since opening my WhatsApp, I have received tens of thousands of messages. I am reading as many of your messages as I can, and while I cannot answer all of them, I will continue to use WhatsApp as a medium to listen to your views and comments,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Thank you for your engagement, and thank you for your opinions. Together we are building a new Zimbabwe of dialogue and listening.”
Political analyst with Leaders for Africa Network Mr Michael Mhlanga said the President’s decision to engage was good as it keeps him in touch with what ordinary people expect from him.
He said President Mnangagwa is breaking barriers associated with his age by using social media communication platforms, largely associated with the youth.
“It’s most welcome because Zimbabweans can interact with the President giving him feedback. It’s so healthy for national development and national progress. He can get the ideas and aspirations of Zimbabweans from Zimbabweans themselves without engagement of someone playing a middleman’s role,” said Mr Mhlanga.
The President has been very active on social media, updating citizens on developmental projects that he is undertaking.
In a video chat posted on his Facebook page last week, the President revealed that if he wins the presidential race on July 30, he will appoint 25 percent of youths to ministerial posts.
Social media users were left charmed after the President responded to their questions.
Some of them said it was rare for the country’s leader to take time off from his busy schedule to listen to concerns of ordinary citizens.
Since coming to power in November, President Mnangagwa has proved himself to be a reformist with a keen interest in reviving the country’s economy.
Under President Mnangagwa, democracy is thriving with a record 23 candidates contesting the presidential poll and over 1 600 candidates seeking election as legislators. In addition, campaigns by opposition parties have gone undisturbed, a departure from Mr Robert Mugabe’s era when political violence left a dent on the credibility of the country’s elections.