The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Municipal Reporter
BULAWAYO residents have ridiculed the city’s mayoral robe saying it marks colonial heritage that city fathers do not want to do away with.
In an official mayoral picture posted by the Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni on his Facebook account, he is seen spotting a red and black robe with white cuff frills and gloves carrying a black Victorian era hat and spotting the gold mayoral chains around his neck.
In the picture Clr Mguni is seated in a leaning posture on the mayoral chair in the council chambers. A number of social media enthusiasts immediately took to the post taunting the regalia, with some likening the Mayor to a Shakespearean play character because of the garb.
“Kanti why silokhe sigqokiswa ingubo lezi sodolobho mkhulu, this is the 21st century (Why are we still made to wear these outfits mayor, this is the 21st century),” wrote one Fryzer Gupta Mpofu.
One Phiri Phiri further ridiculed the outfit saying the mayor (with the white gloves) looked like the Joker playing card.
“Hayi lokhu lahlani mhlonitshwa. Maybe keep the chain but amayikayika lawo no (No, throw away this honourable, maybe keep the chain but these rags no),” wrote Ndaba Mloyi.
A local designer under the A tribe called Zimbabwe label, Zana Kay also offered to give the mayor a makeover and design a new outfit for the city father, an offer that was welcomed by a number of people commenting on the image.
“Zana, I think that would be interesting. I can see those mayoral robes in fine Nguni hides tanned at any one of Bulawayo’s fine tanneries. I know with your expertise in design you would find a way around the swings in the weather to ensure the Honourable Mayor is comfortable both in winter and summer in the leather robes,” said Justin Shiri.
Others who commented on the picture, blasted Clr Mguni for his leaning posture saying for an official mayoral image the pose was not professional.
“I see why we can’t do anything properly, we can’t even do a proper photo shoot for a mayor, I mean a picture of a mayor leaning on a chair and exposing back rest? I don’t know if its lack of exposure or what? I support you fully 100 percent but these are mistakes we don’t need from a publicity point . . . can I be an image consultant for free if possible,” wrote Steven Nkani.
Shephard Ben Abraham said; “Mayor, you are a great guy but your publicity and etiquette team does a poor job. For a Photo Op you need proper makeup and posture.”
Ironically a couple of years ago the city’s councillors had to be taken for a retreat where they were groomed in etiquette, diplomacy and protocol.
“It is essential that a capacity building training programme in diplomacy, protocol, etiquette and professional branding is availed to them to endow them with effective presentation and speaking skills, the understanding for cultural diversity and communication across cultures; conference and meeting etiquettes; hosting and chairing techniques; strategic thinking and analysis and negotiation skills.
“The programme is designed to develop the predictable and acceptable organisational levels, efficacy and efficiency in conducting council work, business etiquette, exquisite protocol functioning; corporate meetings etiquette; client liaison and handling services practices; applicable corporate diplomacy; public relations and image management,” reads a council report.