Another side of the Crocodile

FOR a man whose sobriquet is “Crocodile”, many people would expect a ruthless character. But this is not the case with President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

While certainly displaying a toughness in seeking to get things done, he also exhibits a humorous side.

Last week, the President was in fine fettle when senior officials of Karo Resources of Cyprus came to Harare to sign a game-changing US$4,2 billion platinum deal.

The humour started as soon as he walked into the Munhumutapa boardroom, venue of the signing ceremony.

Immediately after the President took his seat, the director of ceremonies, Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Mr Munesushe Munodawafa, took charge of proceedings.

Mr Munodawafa asked his principal, Minister Winston Chitando, and Karo Resources chairman Mr Loucas Pouroulis, to begin the signing of the agreement.

President Mnangagwa jokingly asked, “What are they signing?”

Those present saw the serious side of the joke: was there no explanation of what was going on in that room?

Minister Chitando then did a presentation to explain exactly what was going on, after which the signing and exchange of documents was done.

It was now Mr Pouroulis’ turn to make a statement.

Let’s just say Mr Pouroulis is not gifted with a booming voice. And with the microphone switched off, people squirmed as they wondered how to tell a man who had just signed a $4,2 billion deal to speak up.

Not so for President Mnangagwa.

“Hello, people are not hearing you. Haishandi here mic iyo? Go and sit there; go and kick one of the ministers off,” he said.

The ministers present were Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo, and Energy and Power Development Minister Ambassador Simon Khaya-Moyo.

Maybe Mr Pouroulis knew that Dr Moyo is a retired lieutenant-general. So he just asked for another mic.

Then Presidential Affairs Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi gave a vote of thanks, and Mr Munodawafa said the proceedings were over.

As people followed protocol and waited for the President to leave first, Zimbabwe’s Head of State and Government had other ideas.

“Ndoinda ndisina kutaura, muri vanhu rudzii imwi?” he asked.

This was greeted with laughter, but everyone understood that things could not end without the President saying something about the multi-billion dollar deal.

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