Cabinet reshuffle must dwell on performance

HARARE - Obviously, the Daily News feels vindicated after President Robert Mugabe confirmed — at a youth meeting on Saturday — its story on an impending Cabinet reshuffle that was published at the end of September.

On his return from the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York on September 25, Mugabe hinted that he might reshuffle his Cabinet to weed out elements seen as fomenting discord in his government.

He said then that he was aware of saboteurs who wanted to incite people against his government ahead of next year’s watershed polls — in which he has been endorsed as Zanu PF’s presidential candidate — suggesting some of them could be within his inner circle.

His inner circle clearly refers to those closest to him, that is, in the cockpit which is the ruling party as well as government’s control room.

Zanu PF has a history of conflating party and government business and for them there is no difference.

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

But events have unfolded very fast on the ground, especially the contentious issue of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s alleged poisoning at the Gwanda youth interface rally in August.

The public spat between Vice President Phekekezela Mphoko — who was acting president during Mugabe’s absence — over the same issue lately, have stoked Zanu PF factional flames.

While Mugabe is at liberty to reassign and even fire some in his bloated Cabinet, Zimbabweans hope he will assemble a team that has the long-term objective of bettering the battered lives of crisis-weary Zimbabweans.

Cash shortages have led to long queues outside banks as people struggle to access their cash from the financial institutions, despite the introduction of bond notes last year by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

Coupled with a shortage of basic commodities, the US dollar has disappeared from the formal market and importers have turned to the parallel market where they get it at a premium, a development which has seen prices spiking.

Consumers jammed supermarkets purchasing goods like cooking oil anticipating an acute shortage in the future while some were hoarding for speculative purposes.

The country’s public hospitals have been hopping from one challenge to the other with the shortage of basic drugs the major handicap.

These challenges are coming as a replay of what ordinary Zimbabweans witnessed in the hyperinflation of 2008.

It is important to note that the under-performance of Mugabe’s Cabinet has largely been a product of the speculation associated with his succession.

By refusing to name a successor, ostensibly because, he claims, the ruling party’s constitution does not give room for that, Mugabe has left his lieutenants fighting to position themselves in preparation for a post-Mugabe era.

Half the time, they have been brawling, attending worthless rallies at a time the country has been burning.

In a way, Mugabe is also to blame for the current team’s failures and hopefully when he sits to compile a new one, the whole exercise will be informed by the performance of individual team members in their respective portfolios.

But again, this is politics. Mugabe will use the reshuffle to stamp his authority on both the party and government by pushing out those he feels belong to the wrong camp.

Zanu PF is split between two major factions the Generation 40 (G40) — rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa taking over from Mugabe and Team Lacoste, which is rooting for the Midlands Godfather to succeed Mugabe.

Predictably, Mugabe’s reshuffle will — this time around — be influenced by non-State actors, some of whom have been very vocal recently about those entrusted with Cabinet positions.

Zimbabwe’s Constitution allows Mugabe to hire and fire, which is what he did in 2015. The only difference is that back then he could give his vice presidents an ear.

This time around, it could be a different ball game altogether with the axe hanging over those perceived to be “in the wrong basket”, to borrow from Mugabe himself.

For now, let’s wait and see what the country’s chief executive officer has to offer Zimbabweans.

Comments (3)

constituation yezanu pf haimutenderi?

g40 - 9 October 2017

Allow me some space to air my concern. I hope the cabinet reshuffle will be based on merit and competence. Our cabinet is full of dead wood and non-performers who are just but wasting state funds on salaries. Their ministries a going on their own without their input. Good luck to survivors of the storm.

Ossam Nyikadzino - 9 October 2017

Save your comments folks, this is a big nothing. Full of sound and fury but signifying nothing, nothing zero. Everyone skirts around the issues, blaming the minister for not performing well, no Mugabe is the biggest failure and preserving his status and privilege is more important than your petty lives.

Zuze - 10 October 2017

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.