PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday appointed Virginia Mabhiza Zimbabwe’s first female Attorney-General among several appointments as he bolsters his team.
Mabhiza takes the reins on November 1.
Mnangagwa also appointed Agnes Mahomva as Public Health Advisor to the President and Cabinet, Jorum Gumbo who assumes the new position of Special Advisor to the President Responsible for Monitoring Implementation of Government Programmes and Mike Madiro, who was appointed chairperson of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) board.
The new appointments come barely a month after Mnangagwa announced his Cabinet and deputies.There is no doubt that Mabhiza and Mahomva have what it takes to excel in the new positions.
A veteran lawyer, Mabhiza has been permanent secretary at the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs ministry for 10 years. As COVID-19 chief co-ordinator, Mahomva became the face of the government’s fight against the pandemic.
Before leading Zimbabwe’s fight against COVID-19, Mahomva was permanent secretary in the Health and Child Care ministry. For her sterling efforts in Zimbabwe’s fight against the pandemic, Mahomwa was conferred with the Order of the Star of Zimbabwe in Silver award.
The same cannot be said about Gumbo and Madiro’s appointments which are seen as rewards to loyalists.
Madiro has received a new lease of life. He was seen as dead and buried after losing in Zanu PF primaries to Admire Mahachi in Mutare North which diminished his chances of being picked for a ministerial position or as a deputy.
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The position of board chairperson at the NRZ requires an individual with intimate knowledge of the organisation, the industry and one who inspires confidence among would-be investors.
There are several engineers around or former NRZ employees who should have been appointed to help revive the rail parastatal. They know what should be done to revive the organisation.
NRZ is at the core of the economy and when it sneezes, the economy catches a cold. The rail parastatal requires recapitalisation so that it plays its economic transformative role by providing cost-effective transport services for goods and passengers.
And that recapitalisation exercise requires people with the right skills.
Gumbo is a known Mnangagwa ally who oversaw monitoring and evaluation of government programmes at a ministerial level.
How he will do the same task as advisor, boggles the mind. What is clear is that Mnangagwa is surrounding himself with allies.
The appointment of Madiro and Gumbo comes barely a month after Mnangagwa touched off a storm by appointing his son and nephew as deputy ministers. This is in addition to retaining long-time allies as ministers.
Mnangagwa told those unhappy with his appointments to appoint ministers of their choice once they become President.
We exhort that meritocracy supersedes family, friendship or regional ties.