Mnangagwa surprisingly elects technocrats to cabinet in shake-up
ZIMBABWE went through a continuous economic downturn in the past two decades under the leadership of former president Robert Mugabe and President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised that his government will usher in change that will see the country regain its status in the international community.
Faced with a serious cash crisis that has seen three different price regimes, Mnangagwa had to select his cabinet carefully if it is expected to move the country away from its economic turmoil.
Mnangagwa’s appointment of Mthuli Ncube, a renowned economist, has received widespread applause, with commentators saying it’s a sign he is committed to reviving the economy.
Mnangagwa described his cabinet as diverse, dynamic and youthful, adding it has the skills and experience required to achieve his set goals.
Of interest is the appointment of ZanuPF chairperson Oppah Muchinguri, the first woman to head the ministry of Defence and War Veterans, as well as the swimming icon Kirsty Coventry taking up the Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation ministry.
Other new faces include Obadiah Moyo, the minister of Health and Child Care; Dr Sekai Nzenza, Public Service, Labour and Social Services; Joel Biggie Matiza, Transport and Infrastructure Development; and Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu, Industry and Commerce.
The president dropped a number of old-guard members who were in Mugabe’s cabinet, among them Patrick Chinamasa, Obert Mpofu, Chris Mushohwe and Simon Khaya Moyo.
Ncube, on his appointment as the new Treasury chief, said his immediate task is to remove bond notes, which he described as bad money. “Let the U.S. dollar be the call currency of focus,” he said.
He said another focus is the reduction of domestic debt through government expenditure, with bigger shares going to production, adding that job creation is a silver bullet in any economy.
Political analyst Simbiso Chirasha said the appointments place women in respectable positions.
“However, it is still a far cry from the desired equal gender representation as this could have been easily achieved in cabinet. It is the first time to have a woman who is a minister of Defence and Information and Broadcasting Services, though the presidium remains devoid of women,” she said.
She said there are a lot of capable women who could have taken up decisionmaking positions in government and in the ruling party. Mnangagwa appointed six women out of his 20-member cabinet, an increase from four in the previous cabinet. Further, of the nine provincial ministers, five women were appointed. The presidium has remained no place for women.
Another political analyst, Rejoice Ngwenya, said there are still too many ministries, although Mnangagwa showed a degree of dexterity in achieving the delicate balance between political and delivery demands.
“What is left to be seen is what milestones can be set and delivered, and how the cronies can manoeuvre the treacherous Zanu-PF DNA of public expenditure,
“However, it is still a far cry from the desired equal gender representation as this could have been easily achieved in cabinet. It is the first time to have a woman who is a minister of Defence and Information and Broadcasting Services, though the presidium remains devoid of women.”
cronyism and corruption,” he said.
Zimbabweans hope for a cabinet that will make Zimbabwe work again, he said.
“Our problem is a party and individuals
who have the unfortunate and misguided belief that they are entitled to [mis]rule and loot without anyone telling them to stop,” he said.
He said if the new ministers are not independent, the country is doomed to return to the old 2008 era, when inflation was at its highest and shops empty as the economic crisis deepened.
“We need individuals who will tell the president the truth, without fear or favour, even if it hurts and threatens their own jobs,” he said.
However, member of Parliament for Norton, Temba Mliswa, highlighted the need to investigate the old guard.
“So now that the old guard have been dropped, does it pave the way for investigation? I’m sure it’s a perfect opportunity to clear themselves once and for all, right?” Mliswa said.
Meanwhile, the Zanu-PF bigwigs and former ministers who were excluded from the new cabinet appointed by Mnangagwa have been redeployed to work on a fulltime basis at the party’s headquarters in Harare.
Speaking to state-owned daily the Herald after an extraordinary session of the ruling party’s decision-making body, the Politburo, held at its headquarters, ZanuPF secretary for Information and Publicity Simon Khaya Moyo shared the developments.
“As the party rebuilds itself for the future, the Politburo has resolved that Zanu-PF transforms and positions itself in the rapidly changing socioeconomic and political environment by ensuring that 11 departments are manned full-time by senior party stalwarts,” Moyo said.
— Daily Maverick.
Zimbabwe swimming icon Kirsty Coventry (right), who is taking up the Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation ministry in the Zimbabwe cabinet, is congratulated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.