ZANU PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu has been instructed by the party to vacate his Matabeleland North senatorial seat to pave way for newly appointed Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema amid reports the controversial long-serving former minister has fallen out of favour with President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
This comes as Mnangagwa was accused of violating section 104:3 of the constitution, which stipulates that “ministers and deputy ministers are appointed from among Senators or Members of the National Assembly, but up to five, chosen for their professional skills and competence, may be appointed from outside Parliament”.
Red flags had been raised after Mnangagwa appointed Mathema alongside five other non-MPs: Kirsty Coventry (Youth, Sports and Arts), Mthuli Ncube (Finance), Obadiah Moyo (Health), Amon Murwira (Higher Education), July Moyo (Local Government).
But chief secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda last night told the Zimbabwe Independent that Mathema was a replacement for Mpofu, who has since vacated the senatorial seat.
“Mpofu resigned as senator and Honourable Matema has since taken over that seat, hence he qualifies for a ministerial appointment,” he said.
Mpofu also confirmed the development in a telephone interview last night.
“We had comrade Matema who was neither a member of the National Assembly nor a senator and I had to give way for him so that he can be appointed as minister,” he said.
Mpofu is now a full-time official at Zanu PF national headquarters in Harare alongside other party seniors Patrick Chinamasa, Simon Khaya Moyo, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Paul Mangwana and Christopher Mushohwe.
In November last year – soon after taking over the presidency after a military coup – Mnangagwa torched a legal storm after he appointed more ministers out of parliament than allowed by the constitution.
Mnangagwa, a trained lawyer, had to eat the humble pie and drop Christopher Mutsvangwa and former Education minister Lazarus Dokora.