Recycling dead wood, loyalists and corrupt cadres is a major component of ZANU PF’s DNA. The inclusion of Francis Nhema, Joseph Made, Ignatius Chombo, Josiah Hungwe and many others in the new cabinet, therefore, did not surprise anyone. As for Made, it would be most befitting to rename his to Ministry of Grain Imports.
When it comes to political juggling, I must admit, there are not many leaders on this planet that can beat President Mugabe at this game. Nominated Secretary General in absentia when ZANU was formed, there was no indication whatsoever that the junior and hesitant appointee (by his own admission) would one day rise to become president of the revolutionary party for decades. But here we are!
Where he gets his ideas from and how he shuffles his cards, just dazzles the mind. This man is a great schemer! Two years ago, when asked how he found working with President Mugabe and what his perception of the veteran leader was, Morgan Tsvangirai replied “He is old but he remains as cunning as ever”.
After the2004 Tsholotsho debacle, President Mugabe did not hesitate to wield the axe where several plotters associated with Dinyane fell by the wayside. Emmerson Mnangagwa, a shrewd student of the master, survived as usual. While it was clear that Ngwena was the godfather of the group, there was no tangible evidence to nail him down. Nonetheless, the junior ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities was created for him as a naughty corner or a place of repentance. But the survival spirit lived on.
Nine years on, cognisant of the factional dynamics in Masvingo, a function, “Liaising on Psychomotor Activities etc” was created for Josiah Hungwe. Even the retired primary school teacher from Chivi has no clue what this entails except that the privilege comes with a Mercedes Benz and an attractive package. Again, this is designed to keep the resurrected Dzikamai Mavhaire in check, just in case. Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, now the de facto provincial governor, will also be on hand if required. If it was a movie, it would probably be called The Battle of The Three Primary School Teachers from the South. As for provincial councils, these will now be a matter for academics given the suspicious creation of Provincial Affairs Ministry.
Elsewhere, Obert Mpofu, Saviour Kasukuwere, Francis Nhema, Joseph Made and others would have been shown the exit door. In our land, such elements are rewarded with redeployments and life goes on. This is Zimbabwe! However, it is not all doom and gloom. Demotion of Obert Mpofu and Saviour Kasukuwere, retention of Walter Mzembi and elevation of Mike Bimha might be some of the few positives. The biggest challenge for Mike is that there is no serious industrialisation to talk about and that is likely to be the case for the foreseeable future. The thrust for the new cabinet is succession and power; economic development will be at the back burner.
Looking closely at the composition, it would appear that the merry-go-round has favoured Emmerson Mnangagwa despite losing the powerful Defence portfolio. Sydney Sekeramai can be viewed as a safe pair of hands in that ministry. The team of feisty cheerleaders has landed influential posts in this cabinet. Jonathan Moyo (the political Lazarus), Patrick Chinamsa (Dzunguman) as well as Oppa Muchinguri are all in strategic positions. I’m inclined to shed crocodile tears for Rugare Gumbo. Nobody came to his aid.
Speaking from Japan not long ago, President Mugabe assured the nation that anybody disowned by the people will not be elevated to the status of honourable member. Does he still remember making this Fukushima Declaration? All non-constituency MPs, including Jonathan Moyo, have been picked from the rejects shelf. What has changed, Sir? And what do you have in mind for the “astute young professor” Arthur Mutambara?
“I can say without equivocation that this Bill, in its original form, was the most calculated and determined assault on our liberties guaranteed by the Constitution, in the 20 years I served as cabinet minister” – this was Eddison Zvogbo in 2001 when he lambasted Jonathan Moyo’s AIPPA. With the return of the vampire, there are likely to be vibrations at Mudadirwa’s grave. Soon, independent newspapers will disappear from the streets and journalist will be regular guests in police cells. Indeed, we have moved a full circle!
Though he remains unpopular beyond his faction and constituency, for once, we must give it to Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. The man is tactful, calculative, smart, intelligent and extremely patient. He literally caused the creation of Chirumhanzi-Zibabgwe to remain relevant after Blessing Chebundo became a menace in Kwekwe. After many years of scheming, it would appear his time has finally come. However, one question begs an answer; what does the conspicuous exclusion of securocrats from cabinet coupled with redeployment to a less influential position mean?
It must be evident to the MDC that the ball game has changed. Soon, it will be very hot in there. There is no better time to reflect seriously on Newton’s Third Law of Motion.
Moses Chamboko writes in his personal capacity. He can be reached on email@example.com.