'ED's choices compromised by allegiances'

HARARE - President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s new Cabinet announced late on Thursday night remains a chauvinistic and ‘‘old people’s home’’ where there is no space for youth, women and progressive technocrats, social and political analysts contend.

Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) said they were disappointed by the gender composition of the Cabinet and say this is signalling that Mnangagwa’s administration is not prioritising the alignment of his decisions with the constitutional imperatives requiring equal representation in State institutions.

“We are concerned at the perennial contempt to which our public political officers hold to the constitutional provisions of gender equality and non-discrimination. The new Cabinet represents 13.6 percent which falls far short of the required 50 percent. This is contrary to His Excellency’s inaugural speech which committed to a renewed Zimbabwe based on principles of inclusivity and equality.

“We must recall that gender equality and non-discrimination is enshrined in the Constitution including Sections 17, 56 and 104, among others, and further prescriptively sets 50 percent as the representation target of women in all State institutions, including the Executive to which only six women out of 33 men (15.3 percent) have been announced. It is glaring that there are no positive measures being taken to rectify gender discrimination and imbalances resulting from past practises and policies.

“We wish to underscore that Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Sadc Protocol on Gender and Development, the Post-2016 Agenda as reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 5 on Equality, the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); and that such actions undermine the status of Zimbabwe in the community of nations,” said WCoZ.

Legislator Jessie Majome said Mnangagwa got right two things; reducing the size of government and for the first time correctly aligning the youth portfolio with the women’s.

She added that it was gender discriminatory to always pair the youth portfolio with economic empowerment while the women who are similarly disempowered were left out.

“The rest is a major betrayal of the expectations of the throngs that filled the streets to push Mugabe out in the following ways; it flouts the Constitution by having nine non MP ministers instead of the maximum five. Zec has confirmed that it will not hold by-elections and there are very few proportional representation seats they can fill; the appointment of serving army officials quarrels with the constitutional requirement to keep the military surest to civilian control, apart from it obfuscating plain good governance; the shocking lack of women is contrary to the Constitution’s Section 17 imperative of good governance; the appointment of provincial ministers is a continuation of Mugabe’s overriding, sidestepping and substitution of the constitutionally-elected provincial councils and bloats government unconstitutionally;  the inclusion of people with pending corruption charges just undermines his anti-corruption drive; the retention of the Scholarships and Local Government ministries is unconscionable as well as that of the cyber security function,” said Majome adding that Mnangagwa should have condensed the Transport, ICT ministries into a Communications ministry.

Social commentator Farai Maguwu is of the opinion that the new Cabinet is a clear statement of intent on the part of Mnangagwa.

“There has not been a shift from Mugabe’s ruinous policies. Cabinet remains chauvinistic and a misogynic old people’s home where there is no space for youth, women and progressive technocrats.

“Zimbabwe has been downgraded to a fully-fledged military State. The recycling of corrupt ministers who ruined our country for the past 37 years clearly means Zimbabweans must not expect any miracles from this government.

“The second factor is the metamorphosis of the State into a military unit. Our uniformed forces are trained to protect the State from foreign enemies. They must remain in the barracks for the good of the country,” said Maguwu.

He added that moving the war veterans to the ministry of Defence is also another misnomer.

“War veterans must fall under the ministry of Social Welfare as the main issue government must address pertaining to them is their welfare. Bringing them under the ministry of Defence means they are now a reserve army, or a militia to be unleashed on the people at the right time.”

Political analyst Precious Shumba thinks the Cabinet is still too big, with 32 Cabinet ministers, including the 10 Provincial Affairs ministers.

“The Provincial Affairs ministers are merely political appointees serving no genuine purpose in terms of national development. The same old faces who served under Mugabe feature more in this new Cabinet. Mnangagwa should have done away with deputy ministers who do not act as ministers in the absence of the substantive ministers. This Cabinet is not as lean as we had anticipated.

“We hope that the president is not going to appoint the same permanent secretaries to head the ministries, because as long as we have the same bureaucrats as heads of ministries, the results are going to be the same,” said Shumba.

Communications specialist Maggie Mzumara said it would appear as if Cabinet choices have been compromised by old allegiances as seen by same old faces, many of whom do not inspire confidence based on past performance or lack thereof.

“I would have wanted to see more new blood — more technocrats, more women, some youths. Not all new blood, but significantly more new blood. On the plus side, I like the reductions. This will usher in considerably less expenditure. On the whole I would say we lost some and won some.”

Journalist Stanley Kwenda believes what is important is what Mnangagwa wants to achieve for the country.

“These new ministers can all do as good as Mnangagwa wants them to do. We’ve had technocrats under Mugabe but all their ideas were shot down because he was fixated with power. I am not worried about identity of the new ministers; I am instead worried about what they can do.”

Kwenda added that we need grafters and Mnangagwa should give these guys space and if they do not perform he should not be afraid to ship them out.

“We have an election in eight months’ time and I am sure the new president wants a direct mandate from the people and he has no option but to do the right thing.

“Some had suggested a hybrid government made up of people from different political parties and other spheres. I think it was too much to expect Mnangagwa to appoint opposition figures in what is effectively a Zanu PF government in charge of the country.

“For now let’s give these guys a chance to prove they can do better than Mugabe,” said Kwenda.

Comments (2)

to honourable madame Majome I say, please note that its not the masses thronging the streets that removed rhobhati but, its the army & lacoste (thats if they are not the same). the masses were just gullible to the events that unfolded & participated or legitimised something they knew nothing about! Chinamasa once said it and was rebuked by mutsvangwa! as for the last statement by mr Kwenda, i tink its about waiting & see if lacoste will do beta that what it jointly failed to do with g40. I urge all zimboz to wear their factional glasses in order to quickly understand what mnangagwa & company does! that way it will be simple & had this been learnt earlier, pple would have saved themselves these disappointments!

SaManyika Chaiye - 4 December 2017

Women's Coalition what did you say to condemn Grace Marufu when she was doing harm to the image of women over the past few years. Nothing, zero, zilch!

Observer - 5 December 2017

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