Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed his cabinet yesterday, a whole six days after he was sworn.
The cabinet, which took nearly a week, as discussions blazed on, contains surprise inclusions, while some names have generated anger by their inclusion. Khuluma Afrika reached out to insiders close the new administration, to get clarity, reason, and explanations on the appointments, following several queries from our readers.
We were also able to get some inside information on what transpired over the last week, as Mnangagwa attempted to build a team which can attain his targets in just 8 months.
Below are some of the factors and reasons we were given.
The majority of Zanu PF MPs were evaluated and considered as lacking critical skills to drive Mnangagwa’s agenda for economic transformation. The law of the land mandates that ministers must be appointed from available law makers.
Mnangagwa invited opposition MPs whom he considered to be equipped with necessary skills to push his mandate.
The principals of the opposition parties rejected this offer, and demanded a power sharing deal (government of national unity) instead. MPs were warned that should they accept nominations, they would be recalled by their parties, leading to them losing their seats, and then being disqualified from cabinet.
The appointment of Obert Mpofu for example, was not done on factional grounds. Mpofu is on record for saying he is “Mugabe’s ever obedient son”. However, Mpofu is one the few heavyweights from Matebeleland. His appointment was on necessity. Zanu PF struggles in Matebeleland, and Mpofu was appointed purely to appease the region, and to have a representative from the provinces in cabinet.
Most of the other appointments were also based on available meritocracy and for the sake of continuity for these 9 months left before elections. Zanu PF did not want, and cannot experiment with new faces who can start from scratch.
The government is desperate to get results right now. They do not have time. They tried to reach out to opposition but were stalled, and eventually realised that they needed familiar faces that speak the same language.
Another important factor is the financial aspect. New ministers are entitled to ministerial packages that come up when one is appointed a minister. So, it would be expensive to the state to give new faces new packages since it drains and haemorrhages the fiscus.
The new appointments from the military, like Perence Shiri and Sibusiso Moyo were told that they would not receive any packages on appointment, and they agreed.
Khuluma Afrika was told that the President was made aware of the complaints by the citizens, and was moved by them.
“He said his office is open and transparent. He noted the disappointment. He will do his best. He really wants the people to be happy, and to experience economic transformation as soon as possible. He will not betray the faith of the people,” he said.
The country’s biggest opposition, the MDC-T denied that they were approached as a party. Speaking on the phone, spokesperson Gutu denied the claims, stating that if individuals were approached privately it likely occurred in bars as people drank.
“We were never formally approached. Kana vanhu vakataudzana mumabhawa vachimwa doro hameno…” he said.