Poniso Watema | Outstanding Public Service Leader (Women’s Awards 2017)

A Leader Par Excellence
Ponisi Watema (second from right) was born a leader, not just a leader but a leader par excellence. This statement aptly describes Ms Poniso Watema, the Principal of Mutare Polytechnic. She is the only female Principal who is leading one of the eight polytechnics in Zimbabwe. Under her tutelage Mutare Polytechnic, has grown in leaps and bounds to become one of the best polytechnics in Zimbabwe. Today, Mutare Polytechnic draws more than 2500 students across all levels yearly. Ms Watema has continued to transform Mutare Polytechnic and recently the institution has introduced its second degree, the B-Tech in Construction in affiliation with National University of Technology.

Ms Watema’s dreams is to develop innovative and creative artisans, technician’s technologists who stand a chance to contribute to industrialisation and modernisation of our country, thereby contributing to the GDP as the development of human capital is key to economic growth .In trying to create a technology driven human capital ,Ms Watema ensured that all lecturer rooms are equipped with modern interactive boards. Moreso, engineering students are benefiting from the partnership that the institution engaged with Autodesk University in the training of Auto CAD.

Her leadership journey is to make sure that female students are taking courses in those areas that are said to be male dominated fields like Engineering encompassing Automotive, Motor Mechanics, Diesel Plant Fitting and Civil and Construction Engineering Quantity Surveying, Water and Irrigation. “At Mutare Polytechnic we give priority to the girl child in these courses.” Ms Watema also values team building and to testify to this, Mutare Polytechnic holds several workshops like the leadership workshop to impart leadership skills to others.

Ms Watema  is the recipient of several  awards including: 2014 ZNCC Principal of the year award, the Women’s Heritage World Society Organisation in conjunction with Zimbabwe Business Awards Council awarded Ms Watema the  2017 Women’s Top Leadership Excellence Award – Special Recognition in Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development, while under her tutelage the institution has  scooped the Women’s Top Leadership Excellence Academic Institution of the Year Award, 2015 ZNCC first runner up in Top Training Institutions of the year awards, 2014 Best Training Institution of the year awarded by Megafest. 2017 ZNCC Tertiary Institution Award, 2017 ZNCC Enterprise Development Award Manicaland chapter, 2017 ZNCC Enterprise Development award at national level and position 15 in the Megafest Top 20 Business Awards. Under her leadership the institution was able to publish its first magazine in 2015 and a college motto was also coined in the same year.

But who is this woman, who has become synonymous with top-drawer leadership and inspiration. Ms Poniso Watema is an identical twin, born in a family of seven, five boys and two girls. She was born in Bulawayo. Her leadership skills manifested at a tender age when she volunteered tasks within the family.

She became an educationists in 1984. She taught Food and Nutrition, Home Economics and Geography at various secondary schools that include Nemakonde High, Victoria High, Ndarama High. In 1993 she joined Masvingo Polytechnic as a lecturer and she rose through the ranks to become Vice Principal in 2012-2014. In 2015 she was promoted to Principal, Mutare Polytechnic.