via http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/article_xinhua.aspx?id=162440 by Tichaona Chifamba
Zimbabwe’s newly re-elected president Robert Mugabe is set to appoint a new cabinet soon after he took oath for another five-year term of presidency this week.
Though Mugabe has been in power since 1980, the new cabinet will see some key appointments as the president’s Zanu-PF party is to take over ministerial posts occupied by the rival party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the coalition government from 2009 to 2013.
The veteran leader has recycled most of his cabinet since independence, with the longest serving now including vice president Joice Mujuru, defense minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and national security minister Sidney Sekeramayi — who are all likely to maintain their positions in the government.
While retaining the bulk of his old guard, Mugabe is expected to blend experience with new ideas as a number of young technocrats have also made it to Parliament under his party’s ticket. The constitution also allows him to appoint five non- Members of Parliament to ministerial positions.
Following are some leading candidates considered for the top posts in the key ministries:
Agriculture was one backbone of Zimbabwean economy and the country was fondly called “bread basket of Africa” before the sector began to wither since the early 2000s. In his inauguration speech, Mugabe promised to revive the farming sector.
The minister of agriculture in the previous government Joseph Made failed to make it past the party’s primary elections. He has often been described as Mugabe’s “farm manager” because he is understood to have given professional expertise at the president’s dairy farm.
Former local government minister Ignatius Chombo used to fill in for him at times when he was away from the office and vice- verse, therefore making Chombo a good candidate for the post.
The finance minister option is probably one of Mugabe’s biggest headaches. The person will be required to structure programs that promote productivity in all sectors of the economy — particularly agriculture, industry and commerce — and ensure that partnerships are done on a win-win basis.
One name that has been touted in many circles is that of current Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono. Bankers, however, fear that Gono is “adventurous” and is not afraid of taking risks, some of them with disastrous consequences.
Gono has admirers who credit him for keeping the economy afloat during the hyper-inflationary era up to 2009, while his critics accuse him of having plunged the country into an economic quagmire through his quasi-fiscal policies. His last term of office as governor is due to end towards the end of the year.
ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT AND INDIGENIZATION
Indigenization is the center piece of Mugabe’s election campaign. The policy, which requires foreign businesses operating in the country to cede 51 percent of the stake to black Zimbabweans, was touted by the Zanu-PF party as the next big thing after the land reform to truly empower the Zimbabweans.
For continuity, Mugabe is likely to retain the combative Saviour Kasukuwere in the position. Many foreign-owned companies are reluctant to part with majority shareholding in favor of indigenous Zimbabweans, and Kasukuwere has been hounding them.
Determined to ensure that indigenization of resources becomes a reality, Mugabe would rather bet on an old horse that has at least delivered something than experiment with new blood.
Mining is the new and potentially-strong growth sector for Zimbabwe. The country holds huge reserves of platinum, diamond, gold, chrome, and iron ore. Mining products account for about 60 percent of the country’s export income. The Zanu-PF managed to keep the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development under its control during the coalition government. Mining is also identified as a priority sector for indigenization.
Current minister Obert Mpofu will most likely retain his post as minister to push for the indigenization of the mining sector. Questions, however, have arisen over how proceeds from diamond mining in eastern Zimbabwe have been used, but he appears to have accounted for them in one way or another.
The portfolio requires someone who understands the needs of the common person and the requirements of keeping suppliers of electricity and petroleum products happy by ensuring constant debt repayments.
Mugabe has in his new line-up former energy minister Amos Midzi who had left government after losing in parliamentary elections in 2005.