Mujuru 'allies' bounce back

HARARE - In a move that has dumbfounded both analysts and Zanu PF insiders, two senior party officials linked to former Vice President Joice Mujuru have bounced back into the political limelight in spectacular fashion, after President Robert Mugabe unexpectedly invited them into his factional Cabinet on Monday.

The development has left many in the ruling party confused and scratching their heads as to what the wily nonagenarian may be up to, and what the move portends.

Purged from the post-congress Zanu PF late last year, at the height of the party’s vicious factional and succession wars, for their perceived support for Mujuru — who stood accused of plotting to oust and kill Mugabe — Nyasha Chikwinya and Retired Brigadier-General Ambrose Mutinhiri received a new lease of life this week when the nonagenarian surprisingly awarded them ministerial posts.

Chikwinya, who was booted out as Zanu PF Women’s League spokesperson, has bounced back as Minister of Women’s Affairs, while Mutinhiri — who was hounded out from the ruling party’s Mashonaland East leadership team — is now the new resident minister for the same province.

In a further riddle, former Justice deputy minister and Mazowe South legislator, Fortune Chasi — who was also dismissed from his government position for supporting Mujuru — has been given significant new responsibilities in Parliament’s legal affairs committee.

“The appointments of these people who have been linked to Gamatox (Mujuru’s camp) to these positions has left many comrades scratching their heads regarding what this means and what Gushungo (Mugabe) is planning to do.

“Some say this is meant to weaken Gamatox, while others claim that the comrades have since repented and thus deserve a second chance,” a senior Zanu PF official told the Daily News last night.

But Zanu PF chief whip, Joram Gumbo, told the newspaper earlier this week that there was “absolutely nothing” untoward about the appointment of Chasi.

“I don’t know where the hullabaloo is coming from. Chasi was appointed to the legal committee so that when it sits there is a quorum and they are able to tackle legal issues such as alignment of laws with the Constitution.

“We do not want a situation where when the committee sits there is no quorum and it can’t do anything, so it was important that we fill that vacancy in the legal committee. There is nothing surprising as we are moving people from one committee to another and others are appointed to be new members of committees,” Gumbo said.

Commenting on Mugabe’s Cabinet reshuffle, professor of world politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, Stephen Chan, said he did not read much into the executive tinkering.

“I think it’s just a Cabinet reshuffle. Mugabe made himself very powerful at the party congress, so he has no real need to keep building his strength,” he said.

Regarding widespread speculation ahead of the reshuffle that Mugabe would seize the opportunity to swear in his wife Grace as Minister of Women’s Affairs, to mark her grand entrance to the big league, Chan said this was always unlikely.

“I had always thought Grace was a stalking horse deployed precisely to attack the Mujuru faction.

“There is no need for her to be in government at this moment,” he said.

Mugabe tinkered with his “deadwood” Cabinet line-up on Monday 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 glamorous position of minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.

The move was interpreted by Zanu PF insiders 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 insiders said meant 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 Mujuru and her allies was removed from the Higher Education ministry, where she was clearly out of her depth, to replace Kasukuwere at the lesser influential Environment, Water and Climate post.

Kembo Mohadi, who had been Home Affairs minister for more than a decade, was posted to the vacant portfolio of State Security, in the President’s Office — while surprise package, Chikwinya, was given the vacant position of Minister of Women’s

Affairs that insiders had often speculated was earmarked for Grace.

Most analysts who spoke to the Daily News pooh-poohed Mugabe’s reshuffle, variously describing it as “a damp squib tinkering of deadwood” and a “high-sounding but insignificant exercise”.

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 would 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.

A senior Zanu PF official also told the Daily News 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”.

Comments (14)

Same old story, reshuffling of the old deadwood. We need professionals in government not these bootlickers. It will be interesting to see how Kasuwere intends to clean up the Town house. Will he go after the MDC councillors or have a go at the inefficiently and ineffective City of Harare executives. By the way the only solution to Zim`s problems is reindustrialisation of the economy. The leadership really needs to look at the PESTEL analysis of the country as a whole i.e that the Political, Economic, Social, Technology, Environmental and Legal systems prevailing in the country.

Yatso - 8 July 2015

I'm glad you guys loaded your leading stories early today. Somebody forwarded me some rubbish criticism from an evidently rubbish Zanu PF Twitter account called @Zim

Khumalo - 8 July 2015

The rubbish Zanu PF Twitter account I meant to say is called @ZimMediaReview. What it was criticising and what is in this story are two completely different things. Silly Zanoids. One just has to be careful what one reads these days, as the Cee 10 are working overtime everywhere. Keep up the good work Daily News and continue reporting on the reality of Zanu PF's vicious Infighting. Nomakanjani!

Khumalo - 8 July 2015

Rubbish. Its your paper which was wide-spreading the speculation.

Ndugu - 8 July 2015

Matambura with supposed conspiracy theories. ZANU PF is not as you fantasize it.

simweena bantu - 8 July 2015

Can someone please update us where this so called Prof Mutambara is?? Is he back to college or politics dzakamuvhara zvekuti he is in the wilderness?? Thanks in advance to anyone who can tell us...maybe we missed his announcements

Garikayi - 8 July 2015

The end is nigh for this Zhanu-Poo as its internal confusion and internal have become too much. Today they go this way, tomorrow that way. Totally clueless and useless. Kkkkkkkkkkkkk!

Musorodamba - 8 July 2015

hapana hapana

john - 8 July 2015

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@Khumalo m'fana kithi, are you telling us that @ZimMediaReview is also funded by Zanu PF like the other Zanu PF project Haibo!

Gedyeyihlekisa - 8 July 2015

Makeke, mati madiyi. Hapana kwatinoenda kusvika Mwari vataura

Officer - 9 July 2015

I personally think that the old man is just above politics.He is a comrade period!He wants input to move the country forward and nothing else!

nkululeko - 10 July 2015

Kukundikana uko.....munhu mukuru haanzi ati Bhu***** anonzi avhiringa mweya .....dont worry zopera

Tatitadii - Gokwe - 12 July 2015

Tichadzidza zvakawanda veduwe. Chose chinobhuruka chinomhara ZANU yave kutomhara.

Chitototo Chipashumaranga - 13 July 2015

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