Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has named a new cabinet, seen as rewarding top military officials who played a crucial role in his rise to the top but returned much of the old guard from the Robert Mugabe era, which analysts say deflates much of the optimism surrounding the new government.
Major General Sibusiso Moyo, the army spokesperson who became the face of the military’s “Operation Restore Legacy,” a coup that toppled Mugabe after 37 years, leading to Mnangagwa’s rise last week was named as Foreign Affairs Minister while Air Marshal Perrance Shiri is the new Lands Minister.
In a cabinet that was announced just before midnight last night, Mnangagwa returned Patrick Chinamasa to the finance ministry and brought in Mimosa Platinum Mine’s executive chairman, Winston Chitando to head the crucial mines ministry.
Chitando was also the chairman of the government controlled Hwange Colliery Mine.
After promising a clean break from the Mugabe era policies, he brought back much of the old guard, disappointing the business community, labour and the public.
David Parirenyatwa, Lazarus Dokora, Obert Mpofu, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Jorum Gumbo, Mike Bimha, Supa Mandiwanzira, Kembo Mohadi retained their previous portfolios.
Mnangagwa, who has promised to hit the ground running, is under pressure to deliver on the economy, to create jobs and address the severe foreign currency shortages.
“Although we expected to see a different cabinet, for us as business community we welcome the appointments of ministers in the Industry and Commerce ministry, the minister of Finance as well as the one for mining. Those ministers, we think will bring positive developments to support the industry at large,” said Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Jabangwe.
His predecessor Busisa Moyo is willing to give the new cabinet a chance.
“I think we have to judge the newly appointed cabinet ministers based on their abilities not based on character. Although we were hoping for more people from the private sector and technocrats we look forward to engaging with those appointed. We are happy with the appointment of Winston (Chitando) who is from the private sector. Those who were given room, we look forward to seeing them proving their worth in the coming months.”
Economic commentator, John Robertson spoke for many when he said: “We are worried. The inclusion of military personnel is also disappointing because those people have failed to run parastatals.
“The cabinet has too many names who were in the previous cabinet and there is no indication that they were well-chosen. There is no indication that they will not disappoint like in the previous cabinet. Their performance won’t be any better. Why does Zimbabwe need 22 ministries?”
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) Secretary General, Japhet Moyo had this to say: “As the workers we are very very disappointed, we were not expecting the new administration to be fully comprised of same old people who have failed us in the past. The president missed the point by appointing people who have failed to deliver judging from their record, such as the now Home Affairs and Culture minister Obert Mpofu”.