Kusagadzikana Kwaro: Insight into Chiwenga’s Stage Unsettledness

  • Written by Oscar Habeenzu
  • Published in Leadership

A leader must never appear unsettled on stage.

In 476 BC, General Sun Tzu, the Chinese military strategist, spoke of the stage unsettledness of Constantine Chiwenga, Vice President of Zimbabwe, in his book The Art of War; a book that has changed the course of military history world over.


Many in Africa, leaders and CEOs, do not pay attention to how they stand, speak and convince their audiences, especially their body language, tone, and ability to communicate on stage; that being their downfall.

The Psychology of Stages

In Psychology, there is what is called the four-temperament theory, that is, a proto-psychological theory which suggests that there are four fundamental personality types: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic. In this case we are looking at the choleric temperament as exhibited on stage by Rtd. General Chiwenga.

On the up side, Choleric individuals tend to be more extroverted. They are described as being independent, decisive, and goal-oriented, and they enjoy being in charge of a group since they have many leadership qualities as well as ambition. 

On the up side, Choleric individuals tend to be more quick-tempered and impatient; therein lies the danger for leadership, an institute, a cause, and possibly a nation.

In the Art of War, General Sun Tzu says, “If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him."

Strategists, political, military or business, will tell you that Chiwenga’s exhibition, if well exploited, could spell defeat for himself, the nationalist party, and the whole presidium as it were.

Stand, Speak Convince Them 

A leader with what is called a choleric temper, needs to read the book, Stand, Speak Convince Them: Mastering the Art of Convincing Audiences, by Charlton Tsodzo, PhD.

The book, Stand, Speak, Convince Them! Mastering the Art of Convincing Audiences targets African speakers, influencers entrepreneurs, politicians, preachers, marketers and anyone else anyone else who has an audience to convince.

Living in an era of increased levels of knowledge and skills, awesome ideologies and philosophies, brilliant ideas and innovation business products, influence requires more than just brilliance and intelligence now. 

It requires that the influencer masters the art of standing, speaking and convincing audiences. Not sitting down until they have articulated their ideas clearly, until they have convinced audiences, clients, voters, business partners or investors to take action, support or make important decisions. 

Mastering this art completes the modern-day influencer and separates them from the rest. This book helps you master this art.

Dr Charlton Tsodzo, author of Mastering the Art of Convincing Audiences, analysed Rtd. General Chiwenga’s stage irritation during a recent press conference for the Doctors’ Strike in Harare, saying;

“Allow me to comment on your body language from this press conference, which I think could be strengthened to enhance your art of convincing audiences and giving more assured and confident public speeches/pressers. 

You generally exhibited great agitation and confidence-sapping discomfort and here am not even talking about the hot weather, sir. 

Your body language smacked of someone anga achihwa kutsva (feeling like burning) from inside; as in totally uncomfortable, too impatient and irritated to be discussing the issues at hand and in fact your body language seemed to suggest you wished you could be somewhere else sir. 

Vigorous rubbing of palms on your thighs under a desk or table tends to move your arms up to shoulder level equally vigorously showing discomfort and lots of nerves sir, you may want to moderate frequency of doing this in future public appearances boss.

While you may have been a bit uncomfortable to show the back of your hands with the bandages, but the way you were crossing them arms in front of your body, maybe to 'hide' the bandages ends up giving the impression of being overtly defensive, kind of stubborn and not wanting your position on the issue under press conference to be altered or questioned. 

Surely, nothing wrong with having bandages sir, tese tinorwara wani (we all get sick) and we need bandages quite regularly, however, that shouldn't ruin your demeanour next time boss tiritese hanti (are we together). 

Now, slamming or slapping tables also gives a sense of 'digging in', particularly when an authoritative figure is speaking in front of an audience where there are juniors, subordinates, subjects, or people he/she leads. You may want to consider slowing down on that in future. 

Interesting the way you appeared to want to lift your body by pressing on the armrests of your chair gave the impressions you are impatient and can't wait to just leave, if it were a negotiation, mediation or dispute resolution you would be considered as insincere or impatient, not saying anything here. 

It would also be useful if the handkerchief can in future be in a pocket in the breast area of your jacket so that when you take it out you don't cause a whole-body movement (including facial muscles in your case) which ended up appearing like you were trying to dissipate nerves and lots of discomfort sir. 

Your eye movement sir appeared like someone extremely uncomfortable, agitated, trying to hide something; your facial muscles (around the mouth, around the eyes and on your forehead) betrayed the same.

There may be need to have someone assist with the art of eye movement, you know, the three types of gazes and where to use which one etc.

Further, I'm also not saying you were exaggerating how hot it was in the room, but it may be useful in the future if staff could make sure the room temperature is comfortable enough for you so that you won't appear like the issues at hand are too hot for you to handle, it diminishes public perceptions of your capacity to handle pressure sir.”

Back to The Art of War

It is clear than the battlefield for all leadership is done on stage as much as it is done in other common battlefields well-known to Rtd. General Chiwenga, the successor of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, according to party and national constitutions.

Without making much comparative analysis, one can tell you that there is more unsettledness in Chiwenga than in Mnangagwa on stage, and if opposition have cunning wit, are able to maintain a choleric temperament within the ZANU ranks to cause splits, and internal conflict that can distract them as they take the throne.

Wars are never lost because of the skill or performance of the soldiers, but the aptitude of the General, and the current leadership of ZANU can be exploited through Rtd. General Chiwenga, because of his inability to master self on stage as an influencer.