Mugabe delays MDC minister's swearing-in

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe Mugabe is delaying swearing-in Morgan Komichi, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s pick for deputy minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, a development which could raise tensions in the coalition government.

Tsvangirai has chosen Komichi, the MDC deputy chairperson, to fill the vacancy created following the death of Tichaona Mudzingwa in April early this year.

Mudzingwa passed on at the Avenues Clinic in Harare from cancer.

Mudzingwa had served as MDC senator and deputy minister since his appointment in 2009 by Tsvangirai. He died aged 69.

The Daily News has seen a copy of Tsvangirai’s letter to Mugabe where he proposes that Komichi fills the post left vacant by Mudzingwa, an ex-Zimbabwe National Army colonel who served from 1980 to 1994.

Only Mugabe, as the head of state, has powers to swear-in government ministers.

The letter, dated June 13, 2012, recommends that the non-constituency senator be appointed deputy minister. But four months on, Mugabe is still to swear him in.

Efforts to get a comment from the President’s spokesperson George Charamba were fruitless as he was said to have accompanied Mugabe to the UN General Assembly in New York.

But Tsvangirai’s letter to Mugabe says: “The passing away of Hon Dr Tichaona Mudzingwa, MP deputy minister of Transport and Infrastructure has left a vacancy in that ministry which must be filled.

I therefore recommend for appointment to the post of deputy minister and Transport and Infrastructure Development Hon, Morgan Komichi, Senator in the upper house of the Parliament of Zimbabwe and a member of my political party. I wait to hear from you on the above which we can discuss at our next meeting.”

Highly-placed government sources said Mugabe and Tsvangirai discussed the matter and both agreed that Komichi be appointed as deputy minister.

However, Mugabe, who has previously refused to swear-in the MDC treasurer-general Roy Bennett as deputy minister of Agriculture, has been sitting on the letter.

There are mounting fears that Mugabe will again block Komichi’s appointment.

The Prime Minister’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka confirmed to the Daily News that Tsvangirai had indeed picked Komichi as deputy minister.

“I am aware that a letter was written some time ago by the Prime Minister recommending the appointment of Senator Komichi. I however, do not know reasons for the delay,” said Tamborinyoka.

While Mugabe has been dragging his feet on appointing MDC ministers, he has been swift to appoint ministers from his own Zanu PF party.

In March this year, Mugabe swore-in one of his most vocal supporters Monica Mutsvangwa to fill the post of deputy minister of Labour and Social Welfare position following the expulsion of Tracy Mutinhiri from Zanu PF.

Analysts said the delay could escalate tensions within the fragile power-sharing government set up by Tsvangirai and bitter rival Mugabe in 2009.

The power game in Zimbabwe goes beyond the appointment of ministers as the two Principals are also wrangling over the adoption of the parliamentary authored draft constitution and other political reforms.

Both Zanu PF and the MDC agree that government was now dysfunctional with party interests taking precedence over national issues, but the MDC says the parties must implement all outstanding issues from the power-sharing pact and implement an election roadmap outlined by regional bloc Sadc.


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