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Mugabe Vows to Implement Black Empowerment Programme

President Robert Mugabe
The new cabinet was sworn in Wednesday by President Robert Mugabe at State House with the head of state vowing to expedite the implementation of the controversial black empowerment programme that critics say is scaring away potential investors.

All the ministers who were appointed Tuesday in the new-look cabinet took oath of office with Joice Mujuru, also taking oath as the country’s first vice president.

Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, who many say is tipped to become the second vice president replacing the late John Nkomo, is the Senior Minister of State in the President’s Office.

Ruling party sources say Khaya Moyo is likely to be confirmed as the second vice president at Zanu PF’s annual conference set for December.

Addressing a news conference after swearing in his new cabinet made up mostly of the old guard, Mr. Mugabe said the appointed ministers were selected based on their experience and education.

His said his new administration will push for the speedy implementation of the indigenization programme, vowing to fire the new portfolio minister Francis Nhema if he fails to parcel the country’s wealth to majority Zimbabweans under the controversial scheme.

Critics of the programme say the exercise will reduce the country's production capacity and negatively impact the national economy.
Nhema is believed to be soft compared to his predecessor Saviour Kasukuwere who was moved to the environment, water and climate ministry.

Some of the cabinet ministers at State House on Wednesday
Some of the cabinet ministers at State House on Wednesday
​New Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa said he will ensure foreign owned mines operating in the country are indigenized with speed in line with the black empowerment exercise.

Meanwhile, new Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa urged the West to lift sanctions imposed on Mr. Mugabe and some senior Zanu PF officials for alleged vote rigging and human rights violations saying doing so would help revive the country’s ailing economy.

On prospects of Zimbabwe returning to the use of the local dollar, Mr. Chinamasa said this is not going to happen anytime soon.

Jonathan Moyo, who bounced back as information minister, said he will work with all media organizations, including those broadcasting into Zimbabwe from outside such as VOA Studio 7, 1st TV, Radio VOP and Short Wave Radio Africa.

Moyo, however, warned that these stations should be mindful of a resolution of the Southern African Development Community urging all media houses operating outside the country to close shop.

Deputy Health Minister Paul Chimedza said his ministry is aware of the problems in the health sector, adding his department will do all it can to ensure everyone has access to health services.

Following Wednesday’s swearing in of the cabinet, several Zimbabweans are now expecting the new government to deliver on promises made by Zanu PF before the July 31 elections. The MDC-T and the international community say the polls were fundamentally flawed and do not reflect the will of the people of Zimbabwe.