Just after his inauguration I wrote a letter to the new Zimbabwean president, Emmerson D Mnangagwa. Well, I didn’t write to him him… I wrote an open letter to him and posted it here. In that letter I highlighted some issues that have to do with tech and the whole tech ecosystem in this country.
Included in that letter was that it would be cool to have him on social media. The realistic and humble me wants to think the president and his team already were thinking about having a social media presence and that my letter never got to him. However, the not so humble but unrealistic me wants to think that my letter was delivered to him and more than that, that he thought, ‘wow, this guy has great ideas!’
Whether humble me or the more unlikely conceited me is right is immaterial. The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe yesterday made entrance on Facebook and has been on Twitter for a little while now. We had to of course confirm that the account is authentic first. So far our sources say it’s authentic.
This is a good move. Yes it makes him vulnerable (pa social media panotaurwa yese yese) but vulnerability is good. We want to move away from having leaders who are gods. We want leaders who are people. People make mistakes, people are emotional, people can be attacked but in all that people are loved.
I advise (not so humble me) the president to take it all: the good, the bad and the ugly that comes as part of the package called social media. I advise him to adopt a thick skin. I advise him to engage sincerely and to show humanness. I actually hope that he will post himself and not hist office personnel. Yes, that will mean less regular posts but that will make the whole thing sincere.
Now, here is President Mnangagwa’s inaugural post on Facebook:
I want to hear the views of all Zimbabweans. Facebook helps me do this. In the new Zimbabwe, we must engage all people more than ever.
I encourage you to SHARE my page with your friends, so that as we move forward, I can listen to the views from as wide a spectrum of people as possible as we encourage frank, honest and open dialogue.
As I’ve said many times, the voice of the people is the voice of God. Let us embrace this new era of hope together.