The Sunday Mail
Philanthropic works by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, which have spread across the length and breadth of the country, have helped to shine a light on living conditions of most Zimbabweans, prompting Government to intervene to complement her efforts in some cases, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
Addressing guests at State House on Friday during an appreciation dinner hosted by the First Lady for partners who worked with her philanthropic arm, Angel of Hope Foundation, the President said he was “touched” by some of the work that the foundation has done so far.
President Mnangagwa, who chairs the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, spent the better part of Friday in Botswana to witness the inauguration of that country’s fifth President, Mokgweetsi Masisi.
“My dear wife said I should attend. I was in Botswana and had to rush here soon after landing. Looking at the audience here, I feel very much touched by the work Angel of Hope is doing. It is only slightly more than a year since it was founded,” said President Mnangagwa.
“When my wife discussed with me about it, I have a principle in my life that you do not stand in the way of ideas by people — good or bad. It turned out that this was something else. Possibly, she must have chosen a good team also,” he said.
The First Lady, he said, always had a passion for philanthropic work and within a short space of time, her foundation has been to places where he, as a politician, had never visited before.
The plight of the people of Kanyemba, which was unearthed by Angel of Hope, moved Government “to do something about it”.
“We are already constructing a tarmac road there and when we finish that, we will also put a small runway. Already, Angel of Hope commissioned a clinic and some facilities there. I want to assure the people of Kanyemba that we shall do our best.
“Sometimes my wife says she wants to go to a place that I do not even know. When she told me she wanted to go and meet the San people in Plumtree, I just said to myself, ‘let her go and find out’. When she came back, she told me heart-wrenching stories and again it touched me,” the President said.
Similarly, Government has now begun embarking on a programme to uplift the lives of the San community.
“This type of work can only be done by someone when it is coming from the heart. It is not something one can just do because he/she has been told to do it.
“Seeing all of you here coming to a charity dinner touched me a lot. If we had one-third of our population with such understanding and feeling, our country would succeed,” he said.
The Head of State and Government also revealed the compassionate side of the First Lady.
“Sometimes when we are watching TV at home and some pathetic case comes up, she will quickly say, ‘Daddy, torai number iri kubuda pascreen ndigomufonera and see how I can assist’.”
He left the gathering in stitches when he said, “When I was about to leave ndabva ndanzi, ‘daddy, ko mungangoyenda here without pledging something to the foundation?’ And I said to her, ‘Amai, are we not together in this? So what can I donate?’I then whispered to her that I would donate two goats, two sheep and two cattle, but she said, ‘bodo, daddy, hazviite, think about something else’ . . . I then saw that I was not going to win and decided to come up with another pledge. I will give the foundation rice, grain and some financial assistance so that it continues with assisting those in need.”
The President urged the First Lady and the Angel of Hope Foundation team not to tire in supporting the less privileged. He also thanked organisations and individuals who have been assisting the foundation.