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Mugabe Reshuffles Cabinet; Gives Mnangagwa Allies More Gov't Posts

  • Thomas Chiripasi

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

President Robert Mugabe reshuffled his cabinet for the third time this year bringing in 14 new people and adding two ministries to an already bloated government.

Three full ministers and 10 deputy ministers took their oaths during a ceremony conducted at State House.

Zanu PF parliamentary chief whip, Joram Gumbo, was appointed the new transport minister taking over from Obert Mpofu, who has been re-assigned to the economic planning ministry.

Mpofu replaces Simon Khaya Moyo, who’s now the Minister of State in the President’s office responsible for Policy Coordination.

Mberengwa East legislator Mankosini Hlongwane was appointed minister without portfolio while Abednigo Ncube was appointed rural development minister.

Mr. Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, was appointed the new minister responsible youth, indigenization and empowerment taking over from Christopher Mushowe who becomes the minister of information.

Gumbo said he was happy to be appointed by Mr. Mugabe saying he will concentrate on three areas Mr. Mugabe said he should work on.

Tapiwa Matangaidze, who was appointed deputy labour minister, said his brief was, among other issues, to deal with ghost workers that are reportedly draining the national fiscus.

“There are a lot of things that need to be done as a matter of urgency,” he said. “We have a lot of ghost workers that are going around and we need to deal with corruption so there are a lot of things that need to be done.”

Hlongwane said his brief is to ensure that the 10-point plan announced by President Mugabe during his State of the Nation address was implemented in full.

The plan was criticized by some economists and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Meanwhile, Makokoba legislator Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube was appointed the deputy minister responsible for war veterans while Berita Chikwama was appointed lands deputy minister.

Christopher Chingosho will deputize Savior Kaukuwere in the local government ministry while Edgar Mbwembwe has been appointed deputy foreign affairs minister.

Obedingwa Nguni was appointed deputy home affairs minister while Aldrin Musiiwa becomes the deputy health and child welfare minister.

Former Matabeleland South governor, Thokozile Mathuthu, becomes the new deputy information minister while Michael Madanha will deputize Gumbo in the transport ministry.

Some political analysts say most of those who were appointed today were loyalists of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is angling to succeed Mr. Mugabe.

“It’s not clear whether or not Mugabe intends to strengthen Mnangagwa’s hand… if it is the case that his health is taking a knock then perhaps he has limited choice to groom yet another successor who will have as much interest in protecting Mugabe’s history as his own,” said political analyst Nkululeko Sibanda in London.

He said Mr. Mugabe tried to expand his cabinet to pacify opposing factions in Zanu PF.

The appointments follow the expulsion of office bearers who were linked to ousted former vice president Joice Mujuru and several deaths.