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Cabinet reshuffle not inspirational

WHILE President Robert Mugabe’s current cabinet reshuffle, in which Vice-President Joice Mujuru and eight ministers aligned to her Zanu PF faction were fired, was necessary, the quality of new appointments is awful. It does not inspire confidence and thus won’t change anything.


Mugabe, economically a non-performer himself, on Monday fired his deputy Mujuru and ministers Didymus Mutasa, Nicholas Goche, Dzikamai Mavhaire, Olivia Muchena, Webster Shamu, Francis Nhema, Munacho Mutezo and Simbaneuta Mudarikwa.

Then yesterday he left Emmerson Mnangagwa in the Justice ministry despite appointing him vice-president on Wednesday, meaning he won’t be able to focus on his new duties while in change of a ministry in which he has a lot of work to do now and also in parliament. Phelekezela Mphoko, appointed co-vice-president, is also in charge of National Healing, dividing his attention from day one. Even in Zanu PF Mugabe’s deputies have divided duties also as rotating party chairs.

Simon Khaya Moyo was appointed Economic Planning minister. Other changes include Samuel Undenge (Energy) deputised by Tsitsi Muzenda, Supa Mandiwanzira (ICT), while Monica Mutsvangwa replaces him as deputy Information minister. Oppah Muchinguri is now in Higher Education, Christopher Mushowe (Indigenisation), Prisca Mupfumira (Public Service) and Christopher Mutsvangwa (War Veterans). Mandy Chimene and Joel Biggie Matiza are now resident ministers for Manicaland and Mashonaland East respectively. The elderly Victoria Chitepo was initially appointed Women’s Affairs minister before the appointment was mysteriously reversed.

A replacement would be made at a later date. Cabinet reshuffles happen for a variety of reasons. Periodically, smaller reshuffles are needed to replace ministers who would have resigned, retired or died, but most importantly they are necessary to refresh the government.

This usually comes when government is battling with poor public opinion ratings or wants to remove bad performers and reward go-getters. A reshuffle also provides an opportunity to abolish, create and rename portfolios as well as reassign responsibilities among ministers. It may also be done to reflect new priorities or for reasons of efficiency.

This is where the problem with Mugabe’s current reshuffle is. It was done not to refresh the team to ensure delivery and efficiency, but to punish people in the aftermath of a bitter succession power struggle within Zanu PF in which Mujuru’s faction was crushed ahead of the recent congress. In other words, it’s a vindictive reshuffle. It is driven by retribution, not economic and delivery imperatives.

The quality of new ministers is appalling. Most of them have no traceable records of success in running anything, including their own lives.

They are just parasitic cronies of the Mnangagwa faction put on the feeding trough. Given the current economic and social problems, what was needed were appointments based on meritocracy and competence.

Indeed, a government led by people selected on merit. We need ministers who pull up their sleeves; who are smart and tough; who think on their and who get things done, not chatterboxes and lazybones. It is time our leaders wake up, not just snooze in offices and steal. An inept and corrupt kleptocracy won’t take us anywhere.

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