Mugabe's Cabinet reshuffle fails to impress

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe swore in eight new Cabinet ministers yesterday following a brutal and ongoing purge in the ruling party that has so far seen former vice president Joice Mujuru and eight ministers being fired.

But analysts and political figures described the major Cabinet shake-up and the “new” appointments as all akin to “putting stale, old wine in tired old bottles”.

Firebrand war veteran Margaret Dongo said Zimbabwe was trapped in a vicious cycle of retrogressive political patronage.

“The ministers who are there are serving at the pleasure of the President. There is nothing new but the same old stock.

“What I expected was a new clean Cabinet, but the return of people like Saviour Kasukuwere who has been fingered in mismanaging indigenisation, and Ignatius Chombo, whose riches were exposed by his ex-wife, shows that Gushungo is not serious.

“My fear is the old guys will contaminate the new-comers,” Dongo said.

Analyst Shepherd Mntungwa said, “I’m completely under-whelmed by the reshuffle and the so-called new Cabinet appointments as virtually all of them are not so new.

“It’s all akin to putting stale, old wine in tired old bottles and expecting that it will make a difference”.

Maxwell Saungweme, a Harare-based political analyst, said the Cabinet reshuffle was carried out not because of a desire to rescue the country from the edge of the threatening precipice, but simply to punish Mujuru and her allies.

“In terms of government business and the economy, it is fool-proof that the whole Zanu PF Cabinet that was there was under-performing and the country’s economic indicators have basically regressed since the formation of this Cabinet last year.

“So in terms performance of the Cabinet, there is nothing much that will change. Remember this Cabinet reshuffle has nothing to do with the under-performance of the fired ministers, but everything to do with Mugabe’s paranoia and insecurity in his own party which he has taken to Cabinet and the government of the country,” Saungweme said.

Revered war veteran Rugare Gumbo — the expelled former Zanu PF spokesperson and former Dare reChimurenga member — said he wished Mugabe’s new team well.

However, he added, the team would be unable to tackle and overcome the myriad challenges confronting Zimbabwe.

“There are no new faces equal to the present challenges,” Gumbo told the Daily News.

Asked to comment on new first Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, he said, “As far as Mnangagwa is concerned we all know his positive and negative contributions to the country and I have nothing much to say.

“He has been there since 1980, so what can you expect from him. I don’t think he can deliver economically.

“As for Phelekezela Mphoko, I knew him from the war. We worked with him very well. He was a member of Zipra who was in Zipa. He was one of the commanders. With respect to their performances, I cannot tell. But I think it will be very difficult,” he added.

The former minister of Agriculture, who has had a love-hate relationship with Mugabe since he was thrown into a pit in 1978, said the new appointments were not likely to improve the  lives of poverty-stricken Zimbabweans.

“With the Cabinet, I am afraid I don’t think they can deal with the country’s economic situation. It is, however, for the people to judge but these ministers are unlikely to deliver,” he said.

After purging Mujuru and her allies from Cabinet earlier this week, Mugabe appointed Mnangagwa as his first vice president, with career diplomat Mphoko coming in as the second deputy.

And as Mnangagwa left State House after he was sworn in yesterday, he told journalists that he was  ecstatic about his meteoric rise, which had seen him go “from a terrorist, to a prisoner, condemned prisoner, to vice president of Zimbabwe”.

“I am elated that I have been elevated to be vice president of the Government of Zimbabwe. I am a bigger servant to the people than before,” Mnangagwa said.

“As you can see most of the family is around and they are happy and I believe you (journalists) are happy too,” he added.

On his part, Mphoko said the president had chosen him “out of his wisdom” and he was ready to work with the nonagenarian to the best of his abilities.

“I am very honoured to be made VP after being a diplomat. I feel challenged. Well, the president is a very wise man.

“He knows what he wants, he reads from the face and what you say and then he makes a decision. So he is a very wise man and that is why he settled on me,” he said.

He said the new presidium would be a formidable force because it consisted of people with a rich history in the party and government.

The VP post, he added, was also not a job for the boys, as it was very demanding.

“I have always said when you are VP it’s not a retirement post nor is it a holiday but a challenging post.

“This is an office which belongs to the president, so I have to work with the big man. I don’t have the command, the command is from the big man.

“The experience that I have is not very different from the assignments that I will get because I was a fighter, diplomat and now VP. All that put together is a long experience.

“I must also say I have an advantage because we have a similar history with Mnangagwa. We worked together in the intelligence. He was the minister and I was an operative.

“The combination of his experience and that of the big man and I will be indeed a formidable force,” Mphoko said.

While Mugabe has not yet appointed a Women’s Affairs minister, the former occupant of that post, Oppah Muchinguri, said it was up to Mugabe to decide when to do so, although she would be happy to see First Lady Grace Mugabe replace her.

Muchinguri is now Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education which was previously held by Olivia Muchena who is part of the purged crew accused of being loyal to Mujuru.

“I will not be surprised if she (Grace) replaces me but she needs our prayers because men in Zimbabwe are stubborn in terms of appreciating that women are also capable. They (men) are not yet ripe for that,” Muchinguri said.

She said Mujuru had allegedly let women down by expending her energy on fighting other women, particularly herself.

Former Manicaland minister and new Indigenisation minister Chris Mushohwe said he would push for broad-based empowerment that would see unemployed youths benefit.

“The question is, are the youths being empowered? Is Zimbabwe being empowered? Those are things we should look at.

“If we talk of the empowerment of the greater society, our people must benefit. We need to talk of who is empowered,” Mushohwe said.

“We cannot talk of empowerment when a small section, when elitists are being empowered. We want to see the generality of the people, school-leavers from universities who are roaming the street, being empowered. When they are roaming the streets with skills, who are we empowering?

“When we are talking of empowering youths what are we talking about? The most important empowerment to youths is to first make sure that they have the requisite skills before we dole out the money,” he said.

New ICT minister Supa Mandiwanzira said he wanted to improve e-learning and make sure that every school in Zimbabwe had computers.

Among the ministers who have been appointed in the reshuffle are Prisca Mupfumira, who replaces Nicholas Goche as the minister of Public Service, and Samuel Udenge who replaces Dzikamai Mavhaire as the minister of Energy and Power Development.


Name and portfolio

E Mnangagwa: Vice President

P Mphoko: Vice President

P Mupfumira: Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services

O Muchinguri: Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development

S Udenge: Minister of Energy and Power Development

C Mushohwe: Minister of Youth Development, Indegenisation and Economic Empowerment

S Mandiwanzira: Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services

C Mutsvangwa: Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees


Comments (13)

The usual deadwood to which Jonathan Moyo once referred when he had run out of favour

tongesai - 13 December 2014

Sorry to say everything about our mudhara fails to impress. It is way past the time for him to retire. What is ZPF doing????? Is there not one iota of wisdom. Retire peacefully and with some shred of dignity!

Righteous Justice - 13 December 2014

You bring in zim govt people from the moon ,mars or from any way no matter how intelligent are they nothing will change as long as Mugabe is there yes that is the curse god gave us. He is the man who is jamming everything in this country . If he is not replaced then forget about good future finish and klaa.But i want to warn Mpoko that he must refrain from unnecessary praise worshiping Mugabe the man does not like you ask mawala Jabulani Sibanda what hit him after helping Mugabe steal elections last year . You mighty be happy now but bitter day are fast approaching who ever thought .that Joice would be chased away like a dog smelling human shiite. I foresee more misery piling up in this land suffer continue .

Diibulaanyika - 13 December 2014

This country is one of a kind.Nothing seems to work out at all, nothing.Mugabe ruined this country from day one of independence in 1980 and has failed to resolve the crisis.For as long as he and zpf are in charge nothing will work out.Even if he appoints ministers from developed countries to come and join his new cabinet things will only get worse because the system in charge is rotten.Mugabe ngaachizoorora.Full stop,HAZVITOMBODI KANA COMA IZVI.

Gadzamoyo - 13 December 2014

Saka zvichireva here kuti 2018, President Mugabe vachange vari candidate futi?. I don't think Mnangagwa is going to be better than the current president in terms of both performance and popularity.

maths - 13 December 2014

Revered war veteran Rugare Gumbo — the expelled former Zanu PF spokesperson and former Dare reChimurenga member — said he wished Mugabe's new team well. However, he added, the team would be unable to tackle and overcome the myriad challenges confronting Zimbabwe. “There are no new faces equal to the present challenges,” Gumbo told the Daily News. ''Asked to comment on new first Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, he said, “As far as Mnangagwa is concerned we all know his positive and negative contributions to the country and I have nothing much to say.'' Gumbo rega vamwe vapinde panyanga , yu were also there since 1980 wakaitei

pakaipa - 13 December 2014

Zimbabwean politicians always talk about the “war” to show how very brave they were. These were unnecessary skirmishes carried out by people who led chaotic lives egged on by the power-hungry politicians. Black rule was attained by negotiations not because of some idiotic war. Zanu and Zapu never won any skirmishes. The ignorant politicians who want to gain some political mileage will always cite the “war” to enhance their political credentials as if citing the “war” is a basic requirement to be a Zimbabwean politician. I can summarise that the political skirmishes from 1966 to 1987 were just a frenetic struggle for political power between Zanu and Zapu which included, Entumbane and Gukurahundi, and only ended when Zapu relented in 1987 and signed a Unity Accord with rival Zanu. Whenever Zanu and Zapu fighters met they fought each other but this is suppressed to look as if they were fighting a common enemy - the Rhodesians. The present upheavals are just a continuation of the power struggles that have existed since 1960s. Mugabe's agenda and the other politicians' agendas were never the same - Mugabe was fighting fellow party members for LEADERSHIP while the others thought they were fighting to replace whites. Mugabe' education was paid for by whites when his father abandoned the family home - without the whites he would not be where he is right now. Mugabe PRETENDS to be rabid anti-white (a means to an end) because it gets him votes and support from the gullible who will never ask why he agreed that whites pay for his education in Southern Rhodesia or that Mugabe and Didymus Mutasa worked for the Southern Rhodesia government as civil servants. Mugabe accuses Joice of clandestinely speaking to the Americans but he worked for the Southern Rhodesia government as a civil servant and had his school and college fees paid by whites. Who paid for his correspondence courses while he was in detention? Benevolent whites.

Musona - 13 December 2014

''a bigger servant''

Chabvonga - 13 December 2014

No !no!no!!! It's way too much now,he must let young blood to take over. Does he want to rule for ever like kind Soul trying to kill young up coming King David.if he fills his opposition parties will take Zimbabwe down the drain,he have already took Zimbabwe down into the ocean. Mugabe retire while u still can.Learn from the wise President Nelson Mandela,he was not greedy like you .Just step down and for just doing that you won't even loose a single hair on your head.

Sir Levy #07 - 13 December 2014

Mugabe has gone past retirement age. Natural cause will take him away and zanu pf as well. Zimbabwe will remain behind. The democratic and progressing people will take over and the country will start to move on a right path. Zanu pf ma "U" oga oga " Ungraded

X-MAN IV - 13 December 2014

Mugabe is past his sell by date he must retire and leave the new blood to take over.VaMugabe Makura chiendai kumusha mokanga mandire muchidya mabura muchiitira vazukuru ngano

Bingo the mad dog - 13 December 2014

ko dokora achiri minister we education daily news can u publish macabinet ministers ese pliz because handisi kutomboziva kuti zvirikuenda nepi

chocho - 14 December 2014

musona akamaka vanhu vatema varume. hondo was real not skirmishes as he puts it. the failure of zanu pf must not make us lose sight of by marks of our history. hondo yechimurenga was and remains one of the successes of this country and its people. those who relied on the rhodesia herald for news about war would account for the black people's war events as skirmishes as per rhodesia herald news coverages. obviously musona was stationed in the then salisbury and has no clue what so ever about what transpired in the country side. Zimbabwe was born out of a war. chimurenga II. that war dislodged the white minority rule.

taurai - 14 December 2014

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