Mujuru, 8 ministers fired

HARARE - As expected, President Robert Mugabe has sacked Vice President Joice Mujuru and eight Cabinet ministers perceived to be loyal to her, in a move analysts described yesterday as “potentially catastrophic” for the country.

The axed ministers included Didymus Mutasa (Presidential Affairs), Webster Shamu (ICT and Postal Services), Nicholas Goche (Public Service and Labour), Simbarashe Mudarikwa (Mashonaland East Province),

Francis Nhema (Youth Development and Indigenisation), Olivia Muchena (Higher and Tertiary Education), Dzikamai Mavhaire (Energy and Power Development) and Munacho Mutezo (Mavhaire’s deputy).

Ministers who appeared to have survived the purge, but had been linked to Mujuru by Mugabe’s supporters included Senior minister Simon Khaya Moyo, Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi and Sports, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa.

In a terse statement announcing the dismissals, chief secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda said Mugabe had exercised his executive powers to relieve Mujuru of her “position of Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe with immediate effect as it had become evident that her conduct in the discharge of her duties had become inconsistent with her official responsibilities.

“In terms of Section 108 (1) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act 2013, His Excellency the President, Cde R.G Mugabe has relieved the ... ministers of their duties with immediate effect as it had become apparent that their conduct and performance were below the expected standard,” Sibanda said.

Mujuru herself confirmed to the Voice of America’s Studio 7 station that she had indeed been fired by Mugabe, adding that she would, however, not be quitting the ruling party despite the enormous pressure that was being applied on her to do so.

Sibanda was set to announce the new Cabinet line-up last night, with sources saying the nonagenarian’s party and government deputies were however only likely to be revealed after Zanu PF’s central committee meeting tomorrow (Thursday).

But analysts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday invariably described the mass dismissals as a “bloodbath”, “hasty”, “ill-considered” and “potentially catastrophic” — while others said this would add to the uncertainty that was already bedevilling the country’s ailing economy.

They also said the sackings — that were spurred by political differences emanating from sensational allegations that the widowed Mujuru and her allies plotted to oust and assassinate Mugabe – were unprecedented in the history of post-independent Zimbabwe.

Eldred Masunungure, a political science professor at the University of Zimbabwe, said the major changes to the Cabinet would have “devastating effects” on government operations.

“This destabilises the government and the smooth flow of operations. We are not talking about those who have been fired alone, but also administrative heads and permanent secretaries, all those are likely to be affected.

“Some will be perceived as contaminated by association with the ousted ministers and they are likely to be purged at that level and that will stabilise the government. Those decisions are not just political but will have serious consequences on the government,” he said.

Asked if the reshuffle would signal an improvement in the socio-economic status of long-suffering Zimbabweans, Masungure said it was a question of “the same old wine in the same old bottles”.

“There will be new faces but the problems in government are not about personalities. We are talking about a party that has an ideology and those who have been fired represented Zanu PF and not the MDC.

“Unless if there is a new set of policies then nothing will change,” he said.

On the future of Mujuru, Masunungure said it was advisable that the former Zanu PF number two takes a political sabbatical.

International Crisis Group’s southern Africa project director Piers Pigou said although Zanu PF was likely to change dramatically, there would not be a turnaround economically.

“Mujuru and company were often presented as moderates and pragmatists, whilst those associated with (Justice Minister Emmerson) Mnangagwa as radicals, even zealots.

He added that present economic conditions would remain a debilitating factor that could only be surmounted by “a major paradigm shift”.

“We have yet to see how these developments will enhance the economic recovery project, but I can’t see too many folk holding their breath in the circumstances,” Pigou said.

Pigou also said it was unlikely that the vanquished Mujuru camp would have the courage to form their own party.

“Some allege that the actions taken have alienated a massive section of the party — not only purged and related leadership, but also the rank and file.

“We need to see what these developments mean for control of resources, institutions and processes, and how this plays out at varying levels — not only the beltways around Harare and Bulawayo,” he said.

Gladys Hlatshayo, a Hubert Humphrey Fellow at the University of Minnesota in the United States of America said “it is suffer continue” for Zimbabweans as the cabinet reshuffle was merely motivated by hatred between Zanu PF’s major factions.

“The motivations for restructuring of the Cabinet are not efficiency and delivery. The President is motivated by vindictiveness and the need to get rid of ministers accused of siding with Mujuru and plotting to kill him.

“As usual, President Mugabe sees Cabinet as a space for rewarding his loyalists and not as the chief policy-making organ that is supposed to drive government business. It is an extension of his patronage system,” Hlatshayo said.

Maxwell Saungweme, a Harare based political analyst weighed in saying the dropping of some key officials would have little consequence on the country’s macro political environment.

“The Cabinet with Mujuru and the ministers that were fired delivered nothing but liquidity crunches, poor services delivery, electricity outages, and worsening unemployment levels.

“However, to outsiders and would-be investors what has happened reinforces the idea that Mugabe cannot separate between Zanu PF the political party and government, and that he does not respect the Constitution of the land and the laws,” Saungweme said.

Comments (5)

Cabal fired Monday night after royal dinner at the palace. Cabinet meeting delayed on Tuesday to make sure that they got their letters of dismissal and not get near the Office of President and Cabinet on Tuesday!

eagle-eye - 10 December 2014

Cabal fired Monday night after royal dinner at the palace. Cabinet meeting delayed on Tuesday to make sure that they got their letters of dismissal and not get near the Office of President and Cabinet on Tuesday!

eagle-eye - 10 December 2014

Munodzinga Olivia Muchena - Ko Lazarus DOKORA ???????????

Born 1953 - 11 December 2014

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