HomePoliticsCabinet reshuffle expected soon

Cabinet reshuffle expected soon

Mthulisi Mathuthu

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is this month expected to announce changes to his “war cabinet” which will see vacant posts filled and some ministers moved elsewhere.

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Since the announcement of the cabinet a year ago, three posts have fallen vacant: those of Higher Education minister Swithun Mombeshora, Matabeleland South governor Stephen Nkomo, and Attorney-General Andrew Chigovera.

Mombeshora and Nkomo died in office while Chigovera resigned.

Sources said Mugabe was keen to move ministers in line with current political and economic needs.

Tipped to move in is Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer Tichaona Jokonya to replace Minister of Energy and Power Development, Amos Midzi.

A former Zimbabwean envoy to the United Nations, Jokonya is expected to use his diplomatic skills and connections to steer the nation out of its worst energy crisis since 1980.

Since his appointment Midzi has repeatedly issued contradictory statements as the fuel crisis worsened. Midzi, a former envoy to Namibia, is expected to replace junior minister in charge of state enterprises in the President’s Office, Paul Mangwana.

Mangwana has been linked to the Attorney-General’s post. Sources said Ignatius Chombo could be moved from Local Government to his former portfolio of Higher Education. He is currently the acting Minister of Higher Education.

Chombo, who recently suspended the MDC mayor of Harare Elias Mudzuri for alleged insubordination, has been widely criticised for heavy-handedness and meddling in council business. But his hardline approach has pleased Mugabe. He could now employ the same tactics against students.

It was not clear who would replace Chombo.

Speculation is rife that former Home Affairs minister and Matabeleland political heavyweight Dumiso Dabengwa could be appointed governor of Matabeleland South to replace Nkomo who died in April.

His rivals are former Zimbabwe envoy to Botswana Zenzo Nsimbi and former MP for Umzingwane Thenjiwe Lesabe. Matabeleland sources confided to the Independent that Vice-President Joseph Msika was pushing for Dabengwa’s appointment. The sources said there were behind-the-scenes manoeuvres for the post. Former Bulawayo City Council engineer and losing Zanu PF mayoral candidate, George Mlilo is also a possible candidate.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Dabengwa said he had not been approached. Asked if he would take up the post, he said: “What makes you think I will be approached? I haven’t thought about that at all.”

Secretary to the cabinet Misheck Sibanda was not available for comment.

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