Below is our assessment of the performances of some of the ministers.
Tendai Biti — Minister of Finance
Will be remembered for his wars of attrition with Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono. Arguably the hardest working minister, he produced results this year. Government revenue has increased from as low as US$4 million in February to over US$110 million and has introduced financial discipline in government. He however failed to fully finance Sterp. His stance to hold on to the US$510 SDR funds advanced by the International Monetary Fund was unacceptable; he should have used the money to prop up the economy for rapid recovery
Recommendation: He is in the right direction; less talk and more action next year would make him even more popular.
Nicholas Goche — Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development
Little attention paid to the country’s roads. Introduced tollgates, which have raised more than US$5,3 million but the money is being collected by Zimra, yet there is no mechanism for the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority to monitor and control the fees inflows. Goche has done little to resolve this issue while the country’s roads are continuing to turn into death traps. His decision to discontinue pre-testing for learner drivers was commendable.
Recommendation: Needs to solve the dispute between Zimra and Zinara and ensure the money raised is ploughed back into road maintenance.
Welshman Ncube — Minister of Industry and Commerce
Industry’s capacity utilisation has increased under him and is still increasing. His immediate tasks were to ensure adequate supply of fertiliser for winter cropping by end of May, identify recipients’ lines of credit for key strategic sectors, develop a pricing model with regional countries and to work towards establishment of a commodity exchange to ensure the farmers get competitive prices. He didn’t deliver on many of these.
Recommendation: Should work harder to achieve the targeted industry utilisation next year.
Emmerson Mnangagwa — Minister of Defence
Indiscipline is said to be on the rise in the army due to alleged hunger, low salaries and nepotism. Despite Mnangagwa’s feared personality and character, on his watch guns were stolen at Pomona and there are several reports of absenteeism. What else is happening at the barracks, one may ask?
Recommendation: Put your house in order before things get out of hand.
Elton Mangoma — Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Planning
Some notable achievements, eg the investors’ conference in July. Some foreign investment deals have been negotiated but Mangoma has been accused of failing to ensure parastatals operate efficiently. A lot is still expected of him to kick-start a lot of sectors that have not been performing over the past five years. Mangoma seems to know what is expected of him and his success depends on Zimbabwe improving its diplomatic relations with other countries.
Recommendation: More action and less workshops and so-called strategic meetings.
Samuel Sipepa Nkomo — Minister of Water Resources Development and Management
Lots of stumbling blocks (political, resources and financial) in Nkomo’s way. Has done little to improve water supply. Another cholera outbreak looms but he has done nothing to avert it. Situation still as bad as it was in August last year when the epidemic broke. He should also stop picking unnecessary fights with local authorities.
Recommendation: Should be transferred to another ministry or return to the backbenches.
Walter Mzembi — Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry
Overrated because of a sprinkling of charisma and colourful attire. No feasible plans on how Zimbabwe stands to benefit from the Fifa World Cup in South Africa next year.
Recommendation: Lots expected of him in the face of the World Cup; he should extensively market the country and avoid fawning over certain individuals, especially the President. Tourists and investors are not interested in that.
Webster Shamu — Minister of Media Information and Publicity
Shamu seems reluctant to ensure fundamental legislative reforms are put in place to allow for a pluralistic media. The struggle for the opening up of airwaves and the transformation of the state-controlled ZBC continues with no immediate solution in sight. This is despite the fact that the GPA and Constitutional Amendment 19 contain provisions that recognise the importance of freedom of expression and the role of the media in a multi-party democracy and calls for the issuance of licences to broadcasters other than ZBC. Lack of political will to allow for more broadcasters was displayed by the minister’s appointment of the Tafataona Mahoso-led Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe. However threats to journalists seem to have lessened — there are fewer arrests and physical abuse. But he has recommendations from the stakeholders indaba in May which he has up to now not made public.
Sincerity required: people want more newspapers and broadcasters and undemocratic media laws repealed.
Henry Madzorera — Minister of Health and Child Welfare
A slight improvement in the health delivery system but it still falls far short of the pre-2000 levels. Recruitment in the majority of departments has improved to 50%, with that of nurses and junior doctors going up to as high as 70% but some specialist services are still at 0%. Lack of funding has hampered Madzorera’s goals of ensuring that 60% of infrastructure at all central hospitals is functional. Local production of drugs is next to zero and government has to rely on imports. Drug supply at government health institutions is below 60% and people have to rely on the private sector to buy vital drugs.
Recommendation: Keep on trying.
David Coltart — Minister of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture
To Coltart’s credit, most of the schools opened and most of the teachers resumed work. Examinations were marked. Unlike in 2008 when there was very little education because of prolonged strikes by teachers, 2009 went by with very few work stoppages. However, the education sector is still very fragile with shocking pupil-textbook ratios and infrastructure in a poor state. His gains were however almost wiped out by the chaos that surrounded registration of Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations when close to 70% of students failed to meet the deadline to pay examination fees because they were beyond the reach of many parents. On the sports side he seemed to be still in a shell.
Recommendation: No to privatisation of education; and please address the quality of education in the rural areas. Overhaul the way football is run; facilitate Test cricket return; restructure sporting associations’ constitutions.
Herbert Murerwa — Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement
In perpetual reverse gear, spineless and powerless, Murerwa has failed to secure the farming environment. Conflicts and disputes on the land have been on the increase over the past few months; has failed to ensure security for farmers, their workers and assets while continuing to pander to the whims of securocrats who seem to be running the ministry for him. Recommendation: A comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land audit needed soonest, and you need to deal effectively with the new invaders or resign.
Joseph Made — Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development
Lack of preparedness has always been Made’s weakness and it seems he never learns from past mistakes. Once again Zimbabwe is facing a disastrous agriculture season. For some strange reason Mugabe seems to adore him.
Recommendation: He should leave and let others run this ministry.
Francis Nhema — Minister of Environment and Natural Resources
Invisible the whole year. Cities and the countryside are an environmental disaster. No policy in place to clean up. Very likeable, he has been allowed to get away with murder.
Recommendation: Face reality and make yourself useful. Move around and sees the level of litter around CBDs, industrial and residential areas.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Simbarashe Mumbengegwi
He was rather aloof the whole year only visible when President Mugabe was globetrotting. He is however credited with re-engaging Zimbabwe with the European Union and is trying to do so with the rest of the world.
Recommendation: Much of the country’s turnaround depends on Zimbabwe’s diplomatic relations with other countries. Professional diplomatic relations more aligned to a “win-win situation” not based on politics needed. Probably the right person for this ministry but should wake up.
Minister of State Enterprise and Parastatals Gabuza Joel Gabbuza
A lot was expected of him. What has happened to the state enterprises and parastatals he identified for restructuring? Has he set up a performance monitoring system for these? When will he carry out mandate and legislative review of state enterprises and parastatals?
Recommendation: Yet to behave like a minister; has not read the riot act yet when dealing with state enterprises and parastatals.
Minister of Labour and Social Services Paurina Mpariwa
Has met most of the goals she set out for 2009: signed a social contract under the Tripartite Negotiating Forum, is in the process of drafting a social protection strategic framework to improve existing social protection schemes which include paying tuition for orphans and vulnerable children and cash transfers which provide free cash assistance to the elderly, chronically ill and disabled persons. But has not dealt sufficiently with a demoralized, undocumented and deregulated workforce.
Recommendation: Strengthen resource mobilisation from donors and give us more results.
Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Saviour Kasukuwere
Kasukuwere was actively involved in party politics more than his ministry. Seems to have brilliant ideas about his ministry, if only he could put them into practice. The national youth service will always be a blot on his personality. His name pops up wherever something underhand has occurred.
Recommendation: Should clean himself up.
Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Patrick Chinamasa
Has been in the same ministry for far too long — 10 years. Has continued to sing for his supper. Needs to move away from party stunts especially regarding the GNU. One wonders when he will meet the needs of prisoners, operationalise the judicial services commission and meet the minimum standards, best practice and needs for a sound justice delivery institutions.
Recommendation: Is it possible for a hawk to turn into a dove? Too much darkness and hate dog him.
Minister of Public Service Eliphas Mukonoweshuro
Still waiting for the audit on the civil service, a review of salaries and conditions of services and to the harmonisation of the Public Service Act with the Labour Act. Yet to implement the personnel performance system for public servants.
Recommendation: Run your ministry like a listed company. Civil servants want to be updated regularly.
Minister of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development Ignatious Chombo
In Zimbabwe there are ministers, then controversial ministers, then there is Ignatious Chombo. He always has a sly way of doing things. If he was an actor he would not need a script. He enjoys too much free rein.
Recommendation: If only there could be someone who could take a good look at this guy! Being one of the richest guys in the land shouldn’t he be excused so he could run his Babylonisque empire?
Minister of Energy and Power Development Elias Mudzuri
When Mudzuri took over in February, he ordered Zesa to stop disconnections until March when new tariff charges were expected. He was commended by many but to everyone’s shock, Zimbabweans were hit by unjustified bills, in some instances exceeding US$1 600. This was despite the fact that the country was facing worsening power outages, with some suburbs going for weeks or even months without electricity. Recommendation: Prioritise refurbishment and rehabilitation of infrastructure.
Higher and Tertiary Education Stan Mudenge
Mudenge has privatised public tertiary institutions through fees beyond the reach of the majority of students. He has failed to improve the living, working and learning conditions at the University of Zimbabwe, which was one of the best in Africa. The university has been forced to close the halls of residence because of the state of dilapidation, forcing students from outside Harare to be squatters. Some students have been forced into prostitution and criminal activities to raise money for accommodation and fees. Recommendation: Needs to be more visible and show he still has the energy to clog on?
Minister of Mines and Mining Development Obert Mpofu
Mpofu was one of the most visible ministers because of the controversy surrounding the Chiadzwa diamonds. The mining sector is showing signs of recovery. Despite the positive achievements, Mpofu lost the plot when he did not float a tender to select prospective investors to partner government in diamond extraction in Marange, overlooking better equipped and experienced diamond partners.
Recommendation: Should be transparent especially in the awarding of contracts.
Paul Nyakazeya/Faith Zaba