Mugabe hints at Cabinet shake-up

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has dropped the clearest hint that he might reshuffle his Cabinet anytime soon to weed out elements seen as fomenting discord in his government, the Daily News can report.

Mugabe last reshuffled his Cabinet in September 2015 as he sought to uproot functionaries that were associated with former vice president Joice Mujuru.

Mujuru had been fired about 10 months earlier, in 2014, for scheming to unseat Mugabe using unconstitutional means.

Ever since, the discord in his Cabinet has worsened because of the intense infighting between Zanu PF factions — Team Lacoste and Generation 40 (G40) — over Mugabe’s succession.

The infighting has spread to all facets of government, thus disrupting government business, and stalling projects meant to pull the country’s economy from the intensive care.

Addressing Zanu PF supporters at the Harare International Airport on his return from the 72nd Ordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday, Mugabe dropped the strongest hint that he would soon be dealing with malcontents in his deeply-divided party.

He said he was aware of saboteurs who wanted to incite people against his government ahead of next year’s general elections, suggesting some of them could be within his inner circle.

“We heard that they are shortages of things like cooking oil whose prices are going up; we don’t understand this. There are some people who want to fuel discord in the country as we go towards elections next year. They want to make sure that they will be an uprising against the government but our people are well informed and will not do that,” said Mugabe.

The Zanu PF leader threw the cat among pigeons by implying that some of those whom he dines with could be among the saboteurs, saying he would deal with them in a matter of days.

“We are going to look at the problems, we are sure they can be solved in one or two days, let us be careful because they are some rotten apples in our midst, it might actually be people who we share things with but let us not be divided, let us go to elections united,” said Mugabe.

His latest pronouncement comes just over two weeks after the Zanu PF leader told party supporters at a rally in Bindura that while he was in the middle of reshuffling the Cabinet, he received news of the death of former minister of State for Masvingo province Shuvai Mahofa.

“Members of Parliament from Masvingo approached me and said these two (Psychomotor minister Josiah) Hungwe and Mahofa) were a big problem in the province. They asked me to remove VaHungwe and Mai Mahofa from office saying the province would run smoothly if they are gone. So I was in the process of reshuffling Cabinet when Mai Mahofa died,” Mugabe said.

Hungwe and Mahofa were accused of grabbing sugarcane plantations from agro-industrial firm, Tongaat Hullet on which they settled over 400 party supporters.

Last year, Mugabe held back-to-back meetings in Chiredzi and Harare to try and solve the emotive divisions in Masvingo to no avail.

He has also repeatedly told the settlers to vacate the plantations, but they have refused to go, only to find themselves stuck with their crop as the company refuses to take in their crop for processing.

Political analyst, Shakespear Hamauswa, said Mugabe was warning those on the wrong side of the fence of the impending demotions.

“He has the prerogative to appoint and dismiss Cabinet ministers and he can simply do that at will,” remarked Hamauswa.

“Previously, he used to consult Mujuru and Mnangagwa to balance the then existing factions, but now that he seems to be a faction of his own, the Cabinet reshuffle can be a possible reality. It will also be a way of entrenching his position showing that he is still in control."

Relations in the ruling party have become seriously strained following the suspected poisoning of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa last month by alleged rivals who are desperate to destroy his prospects of succeeding Mugabe (93).

Since the alleged poisoning of Mnangagwa, Mugabe and his wife, Grace, have accused the Midlands and Masvingo provinces of fanning tribalism and spreading hate through false claims of witchcraft.

Political scientist, Ibbo Mandaza, predicted a Cabinet reshuffle saying this would be a step towards resolving the thorny succession issue.

“He hinted on a Cabinet reshuffle in Bindura and now he is talking about bad apples within the government hierarchy. I think we are in for some kind of reshuffle,” Mandaza said.

Asked if he thought Mugabe was bold enough to tweak with his Cabinet when elections are approaching, Mandaza said: “That should not be a problem, elections are still too far. I think he wants to move a step further to try and settle the succession question.”

Political commentator, Rashweat Mukundu, said Mugabe was likely to approach the reshuffle with caution.

"It certainly indicates an impending Cabinet reshuffle, but be sure that Mugabe will still balance the various factions and maintain them in a state of equilibrium.

“The reshuffle is not intended to reward anyone but to balance the deck for his benefit and enhanced control of the party and the succession debate," said Mukundu.

Stephen Chan, a professor of world politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, said there is likely to be many rotations of Cabinet and other senior positions all the way through to the elections in 2018.

“This will be part and parcel of alliance building for one or another faction, or of the president attempting to balance the factions,” he said.

Chan, however, said it is not saboteurs within government who are responsible for rising prices.

He said prices were spiralling out of control because government, as a whole, has had no underlying economic strategy for some years.

“The result now is simply that there is no underlying economy. The question is whether continuing and escalating price rises will make the president's position untenable before the elections – in a way that the opposition cannot," opined Chan.

    Comments (15)

    ngatiitei hondo lets make this government pay for its sins

    g40 - 27 September 2017

    why not an economic reshufle, cabinet reshufle is like a joke kkkk this has been done ever since Smith left office and the results have indicated otherwise. We have scandals like the willowgate,gmb and the diamonds $15b saga. So reshufle will result in new thieves in new positions

    larry hoover - 27 September 2017

    Rather, it must read as "Mugabe hints another recycle of his deadwoods" not shake up. This is because since 1980, Zimbabweans even my son and daughter who are grown up have never heard of any new cabinet since they were born. Its the same dead wood with the likes of Chombo, Chinamasa, Muchinguri, Sekeramayi, ED himself, and the rest of the deadwood being appointed as Provincial Ministers in the Robbers and Muggers cabinet. Why can't you appoint professionals with industrial qualifications as happening all over the world in today's world politics and governance. The Robbers and Muggers are just a hopeless cabinet. There is no change going to happen and Zimbabweans must not expect much as he will be recycling the deadwood. In fact, it is Grace Goreraza who is going to appoint the new cabinet. ED is going to be sidelined and Prof Moyo to be back again as a Spin Doctor for the propaganda machinery because Chris Mushowe has failed. Elections are nearing and this need the Rocket Scientist to properly the propaganda machinery. We all know the story behind the story. The Robbers and Muggers tactic is open and we all know the story.

    Clemence Tashaya - 27 September 2017

    Rather, it must read as "Mugabe hints another recycle of his deadwoods" not shake up. This is because since 1980, Zimbabweans even my son and daughter who are grown up have never heard of any new cabinet since they were born. Its the same dead wood with the likes of Chombo, Chinamasa, Muchinguri, Sekeramayi, ED himself, and the rest of the deadwood being appointed as Provincial Ministers in the Robbers and Muggers cabinet. Why can't you appoint professionals with industrial qualifications as happening all over the world in today's world politics and governance. The Robbers and Muggers are just a hopeless cabinet. There is no change going to happen and Zimbabweans must not expect much as he will be recycling the deadwood. In fact, it is Grace Goreraza who is going to appoint the new cabinet. ED is going to be sidelined and Prof Moyo to be back again as a Spin Doctor for the propaganda machinery because Chris Mushowe has failed. Elections are nearing and this need the Rocket Scientist to properly the propaganda machinery. We all know the story behind the story. The Robbers and Muggers tactic is open and we all know the story.

    Clemence Tashaya - 27 September 2017

    What benefit is the nation going to get from very tired rotten wood .He can do what ever he can but the bottom line is he can never rig the economy . All what Morgan left in 2013 is now collapsing kkkkkk educated for nothing now we all see degrees acquired while in jail without learning attachments to industries is just kak now we know Mugabe is not educated he only speaks English kkkkkkkk we can not improve our economy

    Diibulaanyika - 27 September 2017

    THE LEVEL OF DISCOURSE IN THE CABINET AND GOVERNMENT HAS STALLED PROJECTS LIKE THE OTHERWISE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT NRZ REHABILITATION, THE BEITBRIDGE CHIRUNDU HIGHWAY. THE COUNTRY CAN ILL AFFORD TO HAVE THESE SQUABBLES IMPEDING WHATEVER PROJECTS ARE ON LINE. THE SOONER WE HAVE A UNITED CABINET THAT DOES NOT STALL PROJECTS PERCEIVED TO BE FOR OPPOSING FACTIONS THE BETTER IT IS FOR THE COUNTRY. RECYCLING OF MINISTERS AND DEPLOYMENT OF OLD PARTY PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE ENCOURAGED BUT APPOINTING OF YOUNGER PROGRESSIVE MINISTERS SHOULD NOW BE A PRIORITY. THE LACK OF COHESION IN GOVERNMENT IS NOW TO COSTLY TO THE NATION. WE AWAIT THE RESHUFFLE WITH EAGERNESS AND HOPE ITS NOT THE TRADITIONAL SWITCHING OF POSTS

    Kambiri - 27 September 2017

    They is different to there, which is different to their and also they're. They're can be written as They are... Honestly, the level of English shown these days by some scribes? Unotoshaya kuti vakadzidza ivava?

    Muromo - 27 September 2017

    ...different 'to'....different 'from'...ain't even certain myself.....chirungu chinonetsa veduwee, its not our 1st language.

    MuZimbah - 27 September 2017

    Who cares if English is written badly because the British do not even bother to utter a single African language .Only the brain washed want to imitate the English

    Dave - 28 September 2017

    Don't let's get petty. We have HUGE problems to overcome without quibbling over syntax.

    Gogo - 28 September 2017

    Tinemishonga yechivanhu inobva kuMalawi isina ma side effects inorapa zvirwere zvakasiyana siyana kusanganisira mafibroids,asima, shuga,kuwedzera nguva pabonde, kukudza nhengo mumazuva gumi nezvimwe zvakawanda.chayainhare pa 0714066125.

    amos - 28 September 2017

    Big businesses like the manufacturers &the big banks are behind the recent sabotage as we move towards elections.They don't want a gvt which restrict their trading space & their freedom; so they are trying to push it out come elections 2018,using both the opposition the distabances-the manifacturers have power to put reduced quanties in the markert to cause hovoc as well as the bankers can hold to cash also cause havoc in the economy but this not to deny that longterm gvt policy is running contrary to the best environment in they are to make their best profits where they would powers to overcharge their clients(most of them the suffering poor) & under pay their employees(the poor) to maximise their profitability gap.I agree the retailers only at the receiving end & the current problems are within control of the big businesses & bankers

    addmore gudo - 28 September 2017

    Where in the story show a hint of cabinet reshuffle. Mugabe said there are rotten apples but did not say what he would do to them

    mudhara wenorton - 28 September 2017

    Removing your table from the bedroom to the kitchen of a leaking, roofless house makes no difference. Fix the roof first. Cabinet reshuffle? KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!

    Cdse Sinjonjo Dibulawatibula - 7 October 2017

    Removing your table from the bedroom to the kitchen of a leaking, roofless house makes no difference. Fix the roof first. Cabinet reshuffle? KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!

    Cdse Sinjonjo Dibulawatibula - 7 October 2017

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