'Reshuffle to enhance PM's office'

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday announced a major shuffle in his office, amid indications he was building a strategy to win the forthcoming general election.

The staff cull in his office has seen several officials being re-assigned.

Alex Magaisa, a UK-based law professor joins the Charter House team as head of political office, making him one of the most powerful figures in the centre of the PM's bureaucracy.

The shake-up of the Charter House team, which Tsvangirai terms “reorganisation”, and Magaisa’s addition is expected to bring extra horsepower to the MDC leader's team and play a key role in preparing the PM's strategy in the run-up to the next election.

Tsvangirai said in a press statement that the reshuffle t— the biggest change in his office since he became prime minister in March 2009 — was aimed at strengthening his office and government.

“The realignments are intended to strengthen the Prime Minister’s Constitutional responsibilities in the areas of planning, policy formulation, and supervision of government ministries, management of the Government Work Programme and implementation of approved legislation,” Tsvangirai’s official spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said in a statement yesterday.

“The Prime Minister reserves his right to periodically re-organise his office in any manner which can enhance his Constitutional mandate in this inclusive government.”

The reshuffle came about after a lot of media speculation on the goings-on in the PM’s Office.

Tsvangirai strenuously rejected media reports that he had sacked his key ally Ian Makone, his chief-of-staff.

“The fact of the matter is that no-one has been fired but there have been realignments that will enable the effective discharge of the Prime Minister’s Constitutional duties,” Tamborinyoka said.

Makone, who is Tsvangirai’s chief of staff yesterday told the Daily News that news that he had been fired came as a joke to him.

“As you can see, I am still working in the same office. What has happened is that the Prime Minister has re-aligned his team. People forget that the PM is in government and has his team which does government work.

“At the same time he is a presidential candidate in next year’s elections and he also needs a team to help him. What the PM has done is nothing to make noise about because he is both in government and is a candidate and the only way to balance the two is to have teams working on implementing his political and government programmes,” said Makone.

The reshuffle has fuelled speculation that Tsvangirai was purging loyalists who have failed to add value to his office. - Gift Phiri

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