Sunday, April 28, 2013

Of Presidents Mugabe, Banda & Facebook

Of Presidents Mugabe, Banda & Facebook

Sunday, 28 April 2013 00:00
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail
Makomborero Mutimukulu

A five-day State visit which came to life with her touching down to a reception she described as warm ended Friday with Malawian President Dr Joyce Banda jetting off to Lilongwe seemingly bowled over by her host President Mugabe and the people of Zimbabwe.

The Malawian leader’s followers on Facebook appeared to be reading from the same script as they showered praises on the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces as the story of her visit continued to play on last night, long after she had headed back home.

President Banda left on Friday and was seen off at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo by President Mugabe, Vice-President Mujuru and several senior Government officials.

Through her official Facebook page, “Her Excellency Dr Joyce Banda”, the Malawian leader updated her fans – if we may call them that – on her mission to officially open the 54th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.

While each of Dr Banda’s posts naturally triggered a flurry of likes, shares and comments, one subject, The Amai Grace Mugabe Orphanage, got more buzz.

On Friday the Malawian President posted about her visit to a facility where the lives of scores of orphans are being transformed each day.

“Yesterday after taking a break from our official presidential engagements in Zimbabwe, we decided to visit children at an orphanage which is run by the wife of His Excellency Mr Robert Mugabe, Mrs Grace Mugabe,” reads Dr Banda’s post which had nearly 1 000 people pressing the like button on it, 77 others sharing it and hundreds of others commenting.

“I was impressed with (the) hard work Mrs Mugabe undertakes to lift up the lives of orphaned children in Zimbabwe. This is what we should all emulate, every child needs a safe home and a good starting point in life.

“My dear friends, we have a saying in Africa that, ‘a child is raised by a village.’ This means that it is us the community who must work together to promote the safety and welfare (of) our children in Africa if we want to build a better future for this generation.

“Both of us, Zimbabwe President Mr Robert Mugabe and I, President of Republic of Malawi, Dr Joyce Banda, share the same vision of making life better for mothers and children as a starting point to develop a nation. We will not give up on this goal!”

Kenyan based novelist Asha Jaffar clearly had a “Mugabe moment” after reading President Banda’s post.

“I never thought (President) Mugabe could be that nice. BBC should air this story; he is a leader,” he commented.

One Wellins Gondwe highlighted to Jaffar that the BBC will not grant him his wish as the story will be in contrast to the image of President Mugabe they and other hostile Western media outlets have been painting.

“Yeah I know,” Jaffar replied.

“They only want to depict Africa as a lousy country with bad leaders…this story of H.E Joyce hanging out with (President) Mugabe just shows he is just nice and not as bad as the international journalists put him.”

“How bad is Mr Mugabe then? English Propaganda!

“They (President Mugabe and First Lady) have done more good to their people than the George Bush of this world. Shame to them,” commented Estakio Ndalama as debate raged on.

President Banda also posted a picture of the Amai Grace Mugabe Orphanage with a caption that read: “State of the art school for orphans by Mrs Grace Mugabe, the wife of His Excellency President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Mr Robert Mugabe .The little we give makes a difference to people’s lives.”

The reaction from her countrymen was unanimous.

“It’s a good example. We need such development projects here in Malawi,” commented John Jaston Chuwa.

He was presumably speaking on behalf of our Malawian brothers and sisters!

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