Mugabe shuffles factional Cabinet

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe yesterday tinkered with his “deadwood” Cabinet line-up in a long-mooted move that analysts said was a desperate endeavour by the embattled nonagenarian to manage his ruling Zanu PF’s seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars.

As expected, former minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Jonathan Moyo — who had been frozen out of Cabinet for the past two weeks — was shunted to the less influential position of minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.

The move was interpreted by Zanu PF insiders last night as a significant blow to the aspirations of the party’s ambitious Young Turks who go by the moniker Generation 40, and who stand accused of fanning factionalism in the crisis-ridden party and having designs on Mugabe’s and Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s positions.

Mugabe also moved Zanu PF secretary for administration and former minister of Local Government, Ignatius Chombo, to the ministry of Home Affairs, which has historically been occupied by the Zapu side of the ruling party.

Chombo’s political rival and Zanu PF political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere — said to be a close ally of Moyo — was moved from the Water ministry to the Local Government portfolio — which means that the combative youthful minister will have a direct hand in dealing with opposition-dominated urban councils.

Oppah Muchinguri, one of the senior Zanu PF politburo members who led the onslaught against ousted Vice President Joice Mujuru and her allies was removed from the Higher Education ministry to replace Kasukuwere at the lesser influential Environment, Water and Climate post.

Kembo Mohadi, who had been Home Affairs minister for close to a decade, was posted to the vacant portfolio of State Security, in the President’s Office — while surprise package, Nyasha Chikwinya, was given the vacant position of minister of Women’s Affairs that insiders had often speculated was earmarked for the nonagenarian’s wife Grace.

Mugabe also swore in Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri as the new minister of State for Mashonaland East, surprisingly replacing the hapless Biggie Matiza who was only elected the party’s substantive chairperson for the province at the weekend.

While the official word in the dropping of Matiza, said to be an ally of Mnangagwa, was that “he must concentrate on fixing the faction-troubled province”, an insider said it was the work of a “vintage Mugabe to clip the wings of those positioning themselves for life after him”.

Mugabe also gave Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko added responsibilities, with the former diplomat — who is locked in a gruelling tussle for power with Mnangagwa — now also in charge of policy co-ordination and implementation in the President’s Office.

But analysts who spoke to the Daily News last night pooh-poohed Mugabe’s reshuffle, variously describing it as “a damp squib tinkering of deadwood” and a “high-sounding but insignificant exercise that has only silenced the garrulous Moyo”.

Political scientist Maxwell Saungweme said the new appointments were “nothing more than window dressing meant to reward bootlickers and remind all and sundry that Grace is in charge”.

“The reshuffle in short shows how powerful Grace is in terms of succession — rewarding her allies with strategic and powerful posts while giving less powerful portfolios to those that fell out of favour with the First Family recently.

“In terms of performance, nothing much is expected from these over-recycled ministers. Government won’t perform better with all these people. The reshuffle is more to do with Zanu PF power struggles than it is for the performance of government,” Saungweme said.

Another political analyst, Gladys Hlatywayo, said the reshuffle was  “a non-event”, adding that it wold not change anything.

“This is a case of old wine in new bottles. Once again the reshuffle is not motivated by performance, but by internal power dynamics. Zimbabwe is in dire need of a competent Cabinet and leadership that can rise to the challenge and put the country on a sound footing, particularly on the economic front,” she said.

Moyo, who has ignited a number of cyber wars with both locals and foreigners in equal measure, was quick to change his Tweeter account yesterday to reflect his new Cabinet responsibilities. He flatly declined to entertain questions from the media about the changes, a sharp contrast to his robust responses when he was Information minister.

Moyo’s world fell apart a fortnight ago when Mugabe ejected him from a Cabinet meeting, saying that since he had contested for the Tsholotsho seat this meant that he was no longer minister — a move that led to much speculation about his political future.

Most surprisingly, Mugabe chose not to replace him with a substantive minister for now, opting to ask relative political greenhorn and Labour minister Elizabeth Mupfumira to act in that position.

While Chikwinya, Mphoko and Mutinhiri were visibly on cloud nine when they were sworn into office yesterday, Moyo looked decidedly indifferent.

A senior Zanu PF official told the Daily News last night that the Cabinet reshuffle had “Mnangagwa’s finger prints through and through”.

“Anyone who says this is anything else but Mnangagwa’s work is delusional as most of these new changes are what he had recommended that the president do after the Zanu PF congress in December.

“To be honest, Jonathan (Moyo) and Kasukuwere were very lucky in the end to survive and he may have compromised on Kasukuwere as the party needs someone combative like him to deal with the MDC in the urban areas, particularly in Harare,” he said.

In the case of Chombo, the official said his new position would not only see him sitting in the Joint Operations Command (Joc), which includes service chiefs, it would also mean that “Mr Big (Chombo) can now also investigate his political enemies in Zanu PF who happen to be in opposing factional baskets”.

In the meantime, speculation continues to rage about who will replace Moyo permanently — with the names of Grace, war veterans leader Christopher Mutsvangwa, Information Communication Technology minister Supa Mandiwanzira and even Zanu PF legislator and its deputy director of information, Psychology Maziwisa — among those rumoured to be in line.

Comments (22)

he is pathetic. he has reversed all gains of liberation such that he cannot lay any claim to liberating the country - as I see it. He could have tried a new set. He has not considered one option - reassigning himself elsewhere, I am sure that the country will have better fortunes in that matrix

forbeska - 7 July 2015

Deadwood is deadwood no matter how many times you shuffle it, it will not alter its state. What is the point of shuffling a non performing cabinet? If a minister was not performing in his or her past ministry what guarantee is there that he/she will perform in his current ministry?

pride - 7 July 2015

It's the same team that has been playing and losing. Now the same old coach decides to make the goalkeeper his main striker. The midfielder replaces the keeper. Those that have been defenders are now either midfielders or strikers. The result will not change unless the coach throws in the towel and the players retire. Acquire new players and change everything from name and uniform.

BlaKodza - 7 July 2015

The person who should be shuffled out is Robert Mugabe. He has proved to be useless and the biggest log that does nothing. You cannot expect anything from these ministers when they are led by an ineffective Mugabe.

Inyika - 7 July 2015

the fun thing is that while you see him as ineffective, he is shuffling doctors and professors. the president knows what he does. its the so called elite that dance to his tune. at 91 he is still making these men jump very high.

taurai - 7 July 2015

Chabuda hapana

hazvie - 7 July 2015

Bush Mechanic • 13 minutes ago Its disassembling an engine that has had a "knock" from a vehicle into its various components, then rebuild it immediately with the same old parts and expecting it to move. Piston range riri muCylinder imwe, vopesanisa voisa in a different one, voti engine inofaya. Kikikikikikikikikikikiki. Motokari "Zimbabwe" hakuna kwainoenda.

Bush Mechanic - 7 July 2015

This is a heap of rubbish and people forget about 2m jobs which these bastards promised every body in 2013 . Now please you who always vote for this moving grave bcoz you say he threatens you please be brave next time just do not vote for him and they will be no war instead he will run away if he loses . Never never again give in to threats by zanu they are just like a dead nyoka .Now they always call you mabharansi obhare bcoz they know come election time they will threaten you and you will vote for them and they will go on forming a club like this one and call it gorverment . We are very sick and tired of this moron called Mugabe he is leading this country to more shiit and people will eat their own shiit bcoz of this son of a Malawian immigrant . Actually it is Grace who made these changes bcoz as we know she is now in charge o f running this country demety!!!!!!!!!!.

Diibulaanyika - 7 July 2015

There are many lessons to draw from Mugabe's reshuffle. These are (1) he is a hostage of political patronage, therefore he must please at all cost even when there is no money to pay for a bloated cabinet; (2) he has missed the opportunity to trim his cabinet (abolished at least ten ministries and their deputies) which is long overdue to make it responsive to the current economic performance of Zimbabwe; (3) Mugabe's authoritarian tendencies are also visible in the manner in which he shuffles the decks - bankrupt of rationale except in one case - reassigning Jonathan Moyo to a ministry of ontology and epistemology where he belongs.

Clifford C Mashiri - 7 July 2015

Emmerson: counter book rangu razara wena Mphoko ndipoo kana uine speya Mboko: very sori Emmerson ini handina ,totisa order kuna Jona Meanwhile in other news: Josiah Hungwe has been denied a VISA to France where he intended to attend the ongoing Tour de France..claimed that the Tour provided a learning opportunity for his Psychomotor Ministry!

Mazana Mambombo - 7 July 2015


mkweguru - 7 July 2015

Idolatry has crippled Zimbabwe and and God wants you to turn away from idolatry ritual sacrifices. Persistent droughts should have been enough warning that issues right now don't require political solution its more than politics. True the country is cursed and given to an oppressive government with no ideas to turn around the country. Desist from idolatry ritual sacrifice and idolatry worship. God doesn't want anyone in hell but if you are stubborn and don't hide his word then Zimbabwe is in for a calamity.

Dee - 7 July 2015

.............zanu pf merry go round.....!!!!!!

X-MAN IV - 7 July 2015

Reassembling makudo arimumunda -kuti rimwe garibve nekuku, rimwe rouya nepapa. Makudo chete! Kkkkkkkkk! Americans have a way around such a problem. They shoot the baboon troop leader. We Zimbabweans hero warship baboons. What a difference in approach! Take your pick. Which approach work?

Mbareboy - 7 July 2015

@ Diibulaanyika .......".a club like this one and call it government '-I like that and it's true

Referee - 8 July 2015

Ukapfeka Juzu rako wakaripinduridza, Tingati ravanyowani here nhai Vanhu Woye? Mugabe Must Go!!

Madzibaba JeJe - 8 July 2015

Only an idiotic paper, published by an idiotic editorial board and believed by an idiotic readership would believe that Moyo's post is useless.

Student - 8 July 2015

Why leave out Cde CHARAMBA to replace Moyo. Presidential appointment outside elected MPs remain vacant after Moyo comes in as an elected MP.

Brian Chikwati - 8 July 2015

let chinoz replace jonso kkkkk

statesman - 8 July 2015

Diibulaanyika is right we are tired of this old man .Lets us be strong enough on elections not to spare him with a single vote.Let his ministers vote for him.Tired of being used.

Tiredsome - 8 July 2015

Deadwood is best used for firewood! All these clowns from the chief down are only there for what they can benefit. As for those who support them, they are fools of the highest order.

saundy - 8 July 2015

Dee , you are very very right . Zimbabwe is a spiritual country . Do you know that one of the churches there which was formed in1932 , its leader was baptised spiritually in heaven and received the Holy Spirit . Zimbabwe is the only country with true Holy Spirit . I researched about mapostori ekwa Marange . That church is powerful , read about John it's original leader. Everything that is happening in Zimbabwe he said it in 1948. We are in for a fix unless we turn to God , no one can remove Mr Mugabe except God . It's what it is and there is no way out .!!!!

Dzasukwa - 8 July 2015

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