Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday took a few humorous shots at his past guerilla war image by describing himself as a ‘military engineer’ in a comic turn that gave a spark of lively humour to the second edition of the Unesco Africa Engineering Week here in the country’s premier resort spot. “It is true that the Minister of Local Government (Public Works and National Housing Saviour Kasukuwere) asked me whether I’m an engineer or not,” he said as delegates burst into a roar of laughter.
“Yes, I’m not an engineer, but I trained as a military engineer making hand grenades . . .I can make landmines, bombs, booby traps and clamptraps . . . that’s my engineering for destruction.”
Minister Kasukuwere, before he introduced the Vice President to the delegates, had opened the floodgates of humour when he said: “When we were on our way, the Vice President was a bit concerned about what he knew about engineering. I said to him, you are an engineer in your own right as you once were involved in setting up bombs that blew a railway line in Masvingo affecting the movement of goods during the liberation struggle . . .
“So, ladies and gentlemen, we have in our midst a ‘liberation engineer’.” This evoked a round of laughter. The whole official opening of the Unesco Africa Engineering Event was punctuated with humour.
“Okay, let me read the statement of President Mugabe,” the Vice President went on after cracking a joke about his guerilla war ‘engineering credentials.’ When I say, ‘It is my singular honour,’ its not mine its his (President).”
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Prof Jonathan Moyo, also sprinkled the event with a dose of humour.
“Its always a task to go through the protocol list,” he quipped. “And, when you are done you feel great relief.
“When I was invited to come, I did so, really to come and listen and not to speak. When you accompany an elder, you don’t speak, you leave that to the elder,” he said, sending delegates into another round of laughter.
He said while a lot of emphasis was being placed on promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to motivate and encourage the youth to take up science-related knowledge and careers, it was also important to add ‘Arts’ to it, to give it a social science dimension. “While they say it cannot be available without STEM, we are going to have to ‘STEAM’ it,” Prof Moyo said. “For us to be successful, we have to promote the requisite culture . . . the STEAM to be precise.”
When Prof Moyo said he was not going to deliver his speech for protocol reasons, Minister Kasukuwere touted him saying: “I thought you were on Twitter last night and this is why you didn’t attend to your speech.” herald