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» » Mugabe’s rejigged Cabinet: The jury

Ex-War Vets minister Dube​
Axed Mash West minister Chidarikire​
Ex-Labour minister Mupfumira ​
BY JAMES MUONWA
Coming fast as the developments on the Zimbabwean political arena are unfolding, so brisk are the gamesmanships, attacks and counter-attacks being deployed as the succession battle continues to fuel discord, not only in Zanu PF, but the economy as a whole.
They say a day is a long time in Zanu PF politics, isn't it?
This week President Robert Mugabe, in terms of Section 100 (200) of the Constitution, reassigned ten ministers and made eight new appointments in a Cabinet rejig that saw some being rewarded for their sterling work as top bureaucrats, while others paid the hefty price for playing factional political games with the 93-year-old Zanu PF strongman.
For one's political correctness, one was thanked. But as for some like former War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube, ex-Labour and Social Welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira and dismissed Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister Faber Chidarikire, who all were dropped from the revamped line-up, were punished for their varied acts of disloyalty.
Summed up, their 'crime' is pure and simple; belonging to the Lacoste faction pushing for Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to take over from Mugabe is the event he retires or dies in office.
Former Finance minister Patrick Chinamsa, another Mnangagwa sympathiser, was reassigned to a new and seemingly unglamorous portfolio whose nomenclature 'Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation' would have aptly been associated with a 'department' under the Information Communications Technology (ICT) portfolio under Supa Mandiwanzira. While the authorities have argued the ministry was critical in light of an upsurge in cyber-related crimes, I still contend this country is not well-resourced to have a whole ministry for this purpose. A department would have sufficed. Simply put, Chinamasa was demoted.
In a recent Facebook post, Kadoma mayor Muchineripi Chinyanganya (MDC-T) derisively wrote, "Welcome to Zimbabwe. We have 3 Ministers of Communications in Zimbabwe.  Simon Khaya Moyo is in charge of radios, TVs and newspapers. Patrick Anthony Chinamasa is in charge of WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, 2go, YouTube and so forth. Supa Collins Mandiwanzira is in charge of telegrams, facsimiles, posted mail and so forth."
Read between the lines!
Ignatius Chombo, who is also the de-facto Zanu PF secretary-general, was 'elevated' to Finance and Economic Development minister, leaving the Home Affairs brief which was assigned to Obert Mpofu, who is the finance secretary in the revolutionary party.
The Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion ministry was given to Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, who was the Foreign Affairs Minister, a clear indictment of pundits that argue this was a factional card for the man is a 'covert' Team Lacoste functionary.
Besides his unkempt beard, Mumbengegwi was not known to be a performer but more of Mugabe's chaperon to his unending foreign sojourns which yielded no meaningful diplomatic dividend for the country.
Of all the cards that played out during the reshuffle, only Walter Mzembi's move to the Foreign Affairs portfolio was explicable as it came as a seal of approval in the politician's acumen that raised the Zimbabwean brand against all odds when he was in charge of tourism and hospitality.
Coming as it did, his appointment is likely to see the Zimbabwean brand further improve, our pariah state tag shaken-off and relations with other economic blocs cemented through his sophisticated but pragmatic leadership. This appointment, in my sober view, was a master-stroke.
As the succession battle raged in recent months it became a turf war that punned out in the 'official' media, The Herald and Sunday Mail in particular, characterised by brazen attacks on the esteemed offices and persons of top-ranking politicians. The fights were getting uglier by the day.
Maybe the veteran Zanu PF leader intended to steady the ship in deploying 'tried-and-tested' Simon Khaya-Moyo, yes that guy who was eclipsed to the Vice Presidency by Phelekezela Mphoko.
Shrewd is he not?  The ruling Zanu-PF party and state information arms would now be controlled by one person, who will double as spokesman for party and government. Khaya-Moyo was duly appointed Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister, taking over from Christopher Mushohwe.
Mushohwe, a long-serving director of the Presidential Scholarship Programme, is now the Minister of State in the President's Office Responsible for Scholarships, a new ministry. Wow! The guy would be just sitting somewhere in the capital dishing out scholarships to 'disadvantaged needy' students. Do we need a whole minister and ministry for this? Hell NO!
Edgar Mbwembwe, the former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, has been appointed the Minister of Tourism, Environment and Hospitality Industry. The expanded ministry now incorporates environment used to fall under the ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, which has now been left with Water Resources Development and Climate. In this move Mugabe was bereft of a suitable candidate as Mzembi needed to be replaced by an equally zealous and passionate tourism exponent. Mbwembwe is not cut out for it!
Major-General (Retired) Happyton Bonyongwe, who was Director General in the President's Department, is the new Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister, a brief that was overseen by VP Mnangagwa. There has been so much talk surrounding this appointment; hee hee hee clipping the VP's wings, extending the spy web to the judiciary which would preside over electoral disputes in courts…etc. Just to note that the Bonyongwes, Happyton and wife Willia, would definitely rank among the country's powerful couples considering the latter's positions as board chairperson of tax collector, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and an executive at the Securities Exchange Commission. Heard she is running the affairs at Zimra rather like an 'executive chair' and calling the shots like never before. This one is for another day.
Patrick Zhuwao, our all-too-loyal dread-locked nephew who was Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister, has been appointed Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, taking over from Mupfumira, who has been dropped from Cabinet for aligning herself to Team Lacoste, too much meddling in National Social Security Authority (NSSA) affairs, scheming to throw thousands of 'Green Bombers' on the streets without the express approval of the appointing authority and bad-mouthing the party leadership. After doling out rice, maize meal and second-hand clothing (whose source remains murky) in Chinhoyi where she wants to be MP, people are commiserating with this philanthropic soul. Are they? It is hoped her long shot to land the Chinhoyi Urban parliamentary seat would guarantee her miraculous come-back as minister should the tables turn against the other faction, G40 which is loyal to First Lady Grace.
Chiratidzo Mabuwa, who was Industry and Commerce deputy, has been appointed Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister.
Saviour Kasukuwere has been handed a new expanded Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and National Housing. His Ministry was formerly Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. As commissar he would have more time connecting with the rural electorate. But beware, Cremora is back!
Makhosini Hlongwane heads another new ministry, that of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, previously Sport and Recreation without the arts and culture component.
Paul Chimedza is the new Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs, replacing the late national heroine Shuvai Mahofa, who passed on in August after alleged poisoning. Factionalism hotbed and Chimedza has to play his cards right.
Webster Shamu bounces back as Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs, taking over from Faber Chidarikire, a lame-duck whose arrogance preceded his usefulness as a public office holder. Unapproachable and aloof!
The people of Mashonaland West can testify in my corner. Chidarikire's continued appointment was bringing contempt not only for his office, but towards the appointing authority himself.
"People from all walks of life, including from the ruling Zanu-PF party, have welcomed the appointment of Cde Webster Shamu as Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs this week. Those interviewed on the appointment said they expected traction in the implementation of Government policies," The Herald reported.
The article insinuated that the masses hailed the jettisoning of Chidarikire who was an albatross on development. Can you honestly entrust the implementation of economic blueprints such as the much-touted ZimAsset , 10-Point Plan, indigenisation and youth empowerment to Chidarikire who has himself rundown his business empire? His 'legacy of ruin' is well-documented in Chinhoyi where he shut supermarkets, bakeries and now his premises in the industrial sites resemble scrap yards. Chidarikire's axing was good riddance! Maybe that will give him adequate time to concentrate on reviving his failed businesses than to wait for government freebies.
Former Zimbabwe ambassador to Egypt, Aaron Mabhoyi Ncube, is the new Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs, a portfolio that was held by Abednico Ncube who was the minister of the purged Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage ministry. Cosmetic changes, so to speak!
Kind and affable mother, Thokozile Mathuthu, who was deputy minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting services; returns to head Matabeleland North Province as the new Minister of State, a position that was held by Cain Mathema who has been literally thrown into the deep-end.
He is the new Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees taking over the baton from Tshinga Dube, who slipped from Cabinet. Good luck in this brief Comrade!
I rest my case! OPINION



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