Profile of the one-hour minister. That is how the Sunday Mail teaser on the profile of Kadoma lawyer Paul Mangwana read. Mangwana had risen from nowhere to Minister of Transport and Communications when President Robert Mugabe announced his new cabinet.
The decision was reversed hours later and he was demoted to deputy minister. The demotion was taken lightly as a mistake. But was it a mistake? Whispers doing the rounds in Harare say that Mangwana’s appointment was not a mistake.
It was part of President Mugabe’s tactic to allocate cabinet posts according to provinces but in doing so, he had not looked at Mangwana’s CV properly. Though representing Kadoma, the traditional seat of Enos Chikowore the former Minister of Transport, Mangwana was not from the right group, the Zezuru.
He was a Karanga from Chivi. These whispers say President Mugabe was forced to revise his appointment when this was pointed out to him, hence his replacement by Swithun Mombeshora.
An analysis of Mugabe’s cabinet seems to confirm this view. Although ZANU-PF did not do well in Manicaland and performed dismally in Matebeleland, they were allocated more cabinet posts than other provinces.
Manicaland where ZANU-PF obtained fewer seats than the Movement for Democratic Change got four posts. Masvingo got three, Mashonaland East got two while Mashonaland Central, the star performer got three.
The Midlands walked away with two and Matebeleland with four when it only secured two seats out of the 23 contested seats.
Mashonaland West got two but had Mangwana been appointed, the people of Mashonaland West would have felt they only had one true representative.
So much about tying to crush tribalism.