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Mnangagwa’s cabinet: The good, the bad and the ugly

Professor Amon Murwira is Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology. He is currently head of the Department of Geography and Environmental Science at UZ. He has a PhD in Geo-Information Science from the Netherlands. He is quite the science buff; he has helped government use remote sensing technology to assess crops and in livestock tracking for disease control.

His profile indicates he will be quite different from his hyperactive predecessor, Jonathan Moyo. Still, it is a positive that Mnangagwa looked outside the party for fresh talent.

Another new face is Professor Clever Nyathi, a former pro-Vice Chancellor of NUST, who is now special advisor to the President on national healing. He has quite a long CV. He has worked for years with UNDP, advising a number of countries – from Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho to Namibia and Zimbabwe – on conflict resolution.

If Chinamasa is finally allowed to fix the government wage bill, which will mean cleaning up the bloated payroll and even laying off staff, Nyathi’s role and his conflict resolution skills, will be under sharp focus.

There are a few other good points. We now only have six deputies, from 25, although Mnangagwa should have done away with them altogether to show commitment to his pledge to go lean. The 22 ministers are less than before, but still far too many.

 

THE BAD

In his inauguration speech, Mnangagwa said it will no longer be “business as usual”. However, there is enough deadwood in his cabinet to start just a dull fire.

By reappointing Obert Mpofu who is among the most despised public officials in Zimbabwe, Mnangagwa is showing how tone deaf he can be.

Mpofu has zero moral credibility, and giving him responsibility over crime busting, makes a mockery of Mnangagwa’s reform promises.

The police force is due for reform, and even if it is the army that will do it, Mpofu cannot be the face of any new police service to emerge.

Does Simon Khaya Moyo have the stamina to push through the billion-dollar investments needed in Zimbabwean energy?

Does David Parirenyatwa have any new ideas to invest in healthcare?

And what, exactly, is Simbarashe Mumbengegwi’s job as Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Government Programmes?

What does a Minister of Scholarships do while others are at work?

It seems an old boys’ club. Yes, boys, because there are only four women in Cabinet.

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