PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe last week reshuffled his cabinet in a move which economists said would neither inspire confidence nor spur the struggling economy as it has not brought new skills or technocrats to the team.
This comes as the National Constitutional Assembly and its chairman Lovemore Madhuku have approached the Constitutional Court seeking to stop Mugabe from appointing two vice-presidents in Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, who are scheduled to be sworn in today with newly-appointed ministers.
Madhuku argues the appointment of two vice-presidents to replace one vice-president is unconstitutional as it is not permitted by Paragraph 14(2) of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, 2013.
“The option of the President to appoint one or two vice-presidents is only exercised soon after the president is sworn into office. Once the President has decided to appoint one vice-president, he cannot change his mind and have two vice-presidents during the same term of office,” argues Madhuku.
Besides appointing him as vice-president, Mugabe left Mnangagwa with the Justice ministry while Mphoko will also be in charge of National Healing.
Simon Khaya Moyo was appointed Economic Planning minister.
Other ministerial changes include Samuel Undenge (Energy) deputised by Tsitsi Muzenda, Supa Mandiwanzira (ICT), while Monica Mutsvangwa replaces him as deputy Information minister. Oppah Muchinguri (Higher Education), Christopher Mushowe (Indigenisation), Prisca Mupfumira (Public Service), Christopher Mutsvangwa (War Veterans).
Mandy Chimene and Joel Biggie Matiza were appointed as resident ministers of Manicaland and Mashonaland East respectively.
Victoria Chitepo had initially been appointed Women’s Affairs minister before the appointment was mysteriously reversed. An announcement on the appointment would be made at a later date. The swearing-in ceremony is at State House at 10am today.
All other ministries remain unchanged.
The cabinet reshuffle comes in the wake of the dismissal of vice-president Joice Mujuru and eight ministers by Mugabe on Tuesday over accusations of plotting to remove him from power.
Former Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Oswald Binha said the continued political uncertainty and power struggles cast doubt on the new cabinet’s ability to turn around the economy in the long-term.
“The politics of the country is very destructive and undermines institutions that support economic recovery,” Binha said.
“It is disheartening that political uncertainty is undermining economic development and prosperity of the country.”
Economist Godfrey Kanyenze said the lack of political stability and cohesion has been “quite damning for the government of the day,” he said.
“The new cabinet requires the political will and courage to navigate the treacherous environment that has been created by these factional fights. It will be a tall order for them to mend fences and build the bridges that are needed to grow the economy.”
Zimbabwe’s economy is now in a recession amid company closures and job losses on an alarming scale.