By Tendai Mugabe
President Mnangagwa has seen it all in so far as Zimbabwean politics is concerned. He is a shrewd and invincible leader, currently steering Zimbabwe’s leadership train to its greatness.
He is known in some circles as Ngwena, although he is of the Shumba Murambwi totem.
The name Ngwena has its origins back in 1964, when President Mnangagwa was part of the Crocodile Gang that blew up a Rhodesian steam locomotive train in Masvingo with one of his colleagues, Cde Mathew Malowa.
The site where they blew up the locomotive was named the “Trabablas Trail” in honour of President Mnangagwa’s Chimurenga name “Trabablas Dzokerai Mabhunu”.
His several political exploits during the liberation struggle are a matter of public record.
He is a master strategist who believed more in action. His actions on the ground speak volumes about the type of a leader he is.
Soon after his inauguration as Zimbabwe’s second Executive President on November 24, 2017, President Mnangagwa gave his Cabinet ministers 100-day targets to make certain deliverables.
Those close to him say it’s no longer business as usual, as ministers are sweating to deliver. It can be as well recalled that in December 2017, no Cabinet minister went on holiday as they set out to meet the 100-day targets.
In short, President Mnangagwa brought a new work ethic in Government and his motto wherever he goes is “Zimbabwe is Now Open for Business.”
On corruption, President Mnangagwa is brooking no nonsense.
Several personalities who were untouchables during the old regime have been guests at various police stations.
The President has boldly declared zero tolerance to corruption. He has also issued an ultimatum to those who externalised funds and assets to repatriate them before February 28.
But who is this new Sheriff in town, the new Pastor who is always on the pulpit preaching the gospel of peace and development.
The man is none other than President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.
Apart from his rich and well documented political life, nothing much had been interrogated about his childhood.
Unknown to many, the man who brought the new order in Zimbabwe is a rural boy born to Mafidhi and Mhurai Mnangagwa back in 1942, on September 15 to be precise.
His birth place was Tafireyi Village in Zvishavane’s Mapanzure area.
Last week, The Herald sought to have a peek into President Mnangagwa’s childhood and embarked on a sojourn to Mapanzure to interact with his relatives and some of his surviving age mates.
From the interface that this news crew had with President Mnangagwa’s relatives and age mates, indeed President Mnangagwa was born a leader.
Although he was an ordinary rural boy, his intellectual prowess was striking, according to his brother Jonah.
In Mapanzure, President Mnangagwa is commonly known as Dambudzo, his middle name.
A secondary school in the neighbourhood was named after him soon after Independence in recognition of the remarkable work he did during the liberation struggle.
The school is called Dambudzo Secondary School.
The name Dambudzo is President Mnangagwa’s birth name and his brother Jonah said he was given the name Emmerson when started school.
He said it was the norm at the time, as whites preferred people to have English names.
When The Herald arrived at Mr Jonah Mnangagwa’s homestead, which is perched between some mountains, he was milking a cow with the help of his wife at the family kraal.
Jonah was surprised to host visitors from the media, as he never imagined being interviewed by journalists in his life, according to his own testimony.
“So, as newsmen you also visit people in rural areas like us here,” he asked with some sense of disbelief.
“Well, the boy you are talking about, Dambudzo, is my brother. Rukuvhute rwake rwuri kuno.
“He was an ordinary rural boy, but his intellectual prowess was comparable to none.
“What I can simply say is that he was born a leader. He did his primary education at Lundi Primary School.
“He furthered his education in Zambia where our parents had relocated in the 1950s.”
Mr Mnangagwa continued: “He was an exceptional student.”
When The Herald caught up with him, he was weeding his maize field.
Asked if he knew President Mnangagwa, Mr Maposa said with a wide grin on his face: “Ah muchireva Dambudzo mwana waMafidhi here. Aive mudoko kwazvo kwatiri asi aive akangwara.
“Isu taimurova nekuti taive vakuru kwaari, asi aive asingajairirwe nevanhu vezera rake. Zviya zvekuti munoswera muchimudzoresa mombe Dambudzo aisada izvozvo. Dambudzo was energetic and what I still vividly remember is that he was very bright in school.
“Aingoitambawo mitambo yaitambwa nevamwe kumombe asi chikoro ndochake chaaigona.
“After Independence when he came back home, I used to visit him at his homestead.
“I have not been feeling well for some time, but I am happy that he is now the President. Hazvina kumbondishamisa nekuti Dambudzo aive akangwara nekugona chikoro.”
Mr Rodger Musaigwa, who is now staying at President Mnangagwa’s former homestead also narrated how he knew the President.
“Takakura naye muno mumakomo umu achitorisa mombe,” he said.
“Pano pandigere ndopadongo paaigara nevabereki vake vasati vatama kuenda kuZambia. He was intelligent and disciplined at school. I remember his parents relocated to Zambia around 1954. Takazongonzwa zvave kunzi asungwa adonhedza chitima cheVhitori (now Masvingo) akatongerwa makore gumi mujere.”
Mr Musaigwa said President Mnangagwa deserved to be where he is now because of his hard work and sense of determination.