The new Cabinet announced this week is a practical and pragmatic one in form and substance, despite subjective emotions and views to the contrary as it is a hybrid of seasoned politicians and the young generation, analysts and legal experts have said.
President Mnagagwa on Thursday appointed a 22-member Cabinet, which introduced new faces in Government. He also appointed six deputy ministers and 10 Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs.
Legal practitioners yesterday commended President Mnangagwa for assembling a team he believes will assist him in realising his vision for the nation. Advocate Webster Chinamhora said he was encouraged by the President’s deliberate move to fuse veteran politicians and the younger generation.
He, however, noted that more could have been done to accommodate women in the new set-up.
“It is, however, thin on the representation of women,” said Adv Chinamhora.
According to the lawyer, it would be mischievous to call the new Cabinet a military cabinet as it only has two military personnel.
“The inclusion of two generals in an essentially civilian set-up does not remotely equate to a military cabinet. If the military guys included are able to add value and help the team to deliver results, the uniform they previously wore is irrelevant.”
Adv Chinamhora, however, said it was imperative for the chosen team to immediately get down to the business of addressing the evident economic problems the country is facing.
“Hopes are very high. It must be remembered, though, that the new President and Cabinet are treading where others had a 37-year chance,” he said.
“This reality must necessarily temper national expectations. We need to give President Mnangagwa and his ministerial team support, and not to have a vested interest in disaster, tichiti hapana kwazvinosvika.”
Another lawyer, Mr Gerald Mlotshwa of Titan Law, was convinced the new Cabinet was pragmatic despite mutterings on social media.
“It is also not uncommon, anywhere in the world, for those having a military background to occupy political office or form a part of the executive. Air Marshal Perrance Shiri has played a critical role in overseeing the operational aspects of the largely successful Command Agriculture programme,” he said.
Mr Mlotshwa said the younger generation that allege the existence of “deadwood” and “geriatrics” in Cabinet and by extension Parliament, should take it upon themselves to join politics and run for office to form an overwhelming future pool of young (and suitably qualified and experienced) parliamentarians from which the President can, in future, consider for Cabinet appointment.
“The President and his Cabinet have enormous expectation thrust upon their shoulders by Zimbabweans to perform,” he said.
“They have a very short period within which to prove their mettle. Personally, I have absolutely no doubt that the country and the international community, particularly investors, are in for a pleasant shock as to what a focused leadership can deliver within the very limited timeframes present.”
Mr Tapson Dzvetero, who is also a lawyer, said: “President Mnangagwa has to appoint people whom he has confidence to carry out his policies and assignments.”
It is important, he said, to consider and interrogate President Mnangagwa’s policies and his political will to deliver rather that focus on his team.
“We must congratulate the chosen ones and appointees and wish them the best and give them our support as a nation to implement His Excellency’s vision and policies.”
Similarly, Mr Valentine Chinhema, a practising lawyer in Harare, said President Mnangagwa, who is the new chief executive of the country, has a prerogative to assemble a team he trusted to turn around the fortunes of the country.
“Scepticism may arise from the fact that some within the Cabinet line-up were in the last one whose performance was not up to scratch. But then previously poorly performing corporates have been turned around by new chief executive officers working with virtually the old staff,” he said.
Mr Chinhema said what was required is visionary leadership.
“A group of goats and sheep can show uncharacteristic guile if led by a lion,” said Mr Chinhema.
“I like the President’s pick for Foreign Affairs, notwithstanding the fact that he has a military background. Previous holders of the portfolio were apparently more concerned about showing how loyal they were to the person of the President, not the nation. Now we have someone who was arguably a ‘poster boy’ of recent events that brought about the long yearned for change coming in. He obviously knows what is expected of him and he is obviously very courageous and goal-driven. Why would President Mnangagwa keep him in the army?”
The new appointments saw some line ministries with functional duplications being merged.
The date for the swearing-in of the new ministers is yet to be announced.