Mnan­gagwa sur­pris­ingly elects tech­nocrats to cab­i­net in shake-up

The Witness - - INSIGHT -

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.

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