Mugabe’s cabinet choices dash hopes of reform

via Robert Mugabe’s cabinet choices dash hopes of reform – Telegraph by Peta Thornycroft, Johannesburg9:31PM BST 10 Sep 2013

President Robert Mugabe’s new cabinet includes hardliners accused of murdering opposition supporters and of destroying the economy over the last 14 years.

But his choices indicate that he narrowly supports vice president Joyce Mujuru to succeed him when he retires or dies.

Mr Mugabe, 89, flushed with success of a landslide election victory has turned his back on any possibility of rapprochement with his western critics by appointing a cabinet dominated by hardliners who obstructed political reform in the recently ended inclusive government.

The team includes his election agent, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who headed up the team which delivered victory at the July polls which many critics say were rigged. Mr Mugabe won more than 60 percent of the vote against his rival Morgan Tsvangirai, who polled a feeble 37 percent.

Mr Mnangagwa, who is known for his determined ambition to succeed Mr Mugabe when he retires or dies, is justice minister. He heads a justice system widely believed to be loyal to Mr Mugabe and his Zanu PF party, and lacking independence.

He is also accused by human rights groups of involvement in mass murder of opposition supporters after independence. He is a trained lawyer and was tortured while in detention in what was then Rhodesia, but saved from the gallows by white lawyers who protested he was too young to die

Mr Mnangagwa has been associated with many of the worst excesses of human rights violations since independence. However he has been moved away from the more powerful defence ministry in Mr Mugabe’s new cabinet – a move analysts say is designed to keep him secure in his job while also indicating that Mr Mugabe would rather not have him as his successor.

Jonathan Moyo, the maverick one-time academic who designed repressive legislation in 2001 which curtails media freedom and which has resulted in the arrest of many journalists, has been brought in from the cold to head up the information ministry again. Mr Moyo regularly writes columns in the state media which some analysts describe as hate speech.

Patrick Chinamasa’s tenure in the justice ministry saw extraordinary manipulation of laws to jail supporters of Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change. During this period many judges viewed as independent were forced from their jobs and replaced with judges loyal to Mr Mugabe’s Zanu PF party. He now heads up the finance ministry and is considered shrewd. However he takes over a country bankrupted by the costs of the election and which will struggle to even pay its public servants.

Zimbabwe historian David Moore said Mr Chinamasa’s appointment as finance minsiter was critical: “Remember that Chinamasa was acting finance minister in 2008 when the Zimbabwean dollar was canned and Zimbabwe lost its effective sovereignty as it adoped its ‘multi-currency’ stance, meaning the US dollar became the real currency, and he has been reminded, in London, earlier this year that he should adopt West friendly policies if Zimbabwe was to return to the fold.”

Other analysts were depressed at the retention of Mr Mugabe’s old favourites in favour of reformists: “This cabinet sends a message of reassertion of the old guard, and is sending a message of consolidation of the old Zanu PF strategy. There is no indication of reform in this cabinet. Unless there is a change of messaging in the next few months, Zanu PF is battening down the hatches and consolidating its indigenisation programme,” said veteran Zimbabwe political analyst Brian Raftopoulos. He said the results of the July 31 elections were “very depressing.”

David Coltart, the outgoing education minister from the Movement for Democratic Change who served the inclusive government and managed to raise funds to re-open all Zimbabwe’s schools which closed during during the country’s world beating inflation, said his successor and former deputy Lazarus Dokora was “a decent man who will probably continue most of my policies but will struggle to finance them”.

He and other analysts believe some of the most controversial ministers in the previous cabinet have been demoted from major ministries to minor ones. The man who drove the indigenisation policy which was the major plank of Mr Mugabe’s campaign, Saviour Kasukawere, has lost that portfolio and has been given water affairs. His successor, the former wildlife minister Frances Nhema, is so “incompetent”, according to an analyst, that insiders say he could not drive any indigenisation policy, indicating that Mr Mugabe may be worried about takeovers of Zimbabwe’s largest foreign-owned companies.

Obert Mpofu, who conjured up a takeover by the state of private diamond mining leases, has lost the powerful mines portfolio and has been moved to transport. Mr Mpofu owns an undeclared multimillion dollar fleet of heavy transporters used in the mining industry.

Retained as Local Affairs minister is Ignatius Chombo who ordered local authorities to write off millions in debt ahead of election – a move is likely to threaten delivery of services and jeopardise the salaries of municipal officials and workers.

Mr Mugabe’s loyalists are largely divided into three factions, those who support him and no other; a group of moderates who favour Mrs Mujuru as his successor; and hardliners who support Mr Mnangagwa.



  • comment-avatar

    There is nowhere that Zimbabwe is going with Zunupf at the wheel. Sorry we are going to be driven into the ground

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    Nyoni 11 years ago

    It’s back to the drawing board for us all!

  • comment-avatar
    nesbert majoni 11 years ago

    Dead wood is back

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    tanyara muchatiguta 11 years ago

    I am surprised people still think Mugabe is still alive avekutonga nechiveve uyo.

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    YaYaYa 11 years ago

    All hail king ‘Bob’

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    masvukupete 11 years ago

    No surprises there. So Bob had to think indepth on this cabinet. I do not see how indepth this has been. I am sure in depth meant how to manage the different factions within ZPF rather than in depth for the country. It really looks like the names were placed in a box and they were drawn out randomly. Hapana kan in depth thought put in there. After 5 years this team will have sang a million songs in praise of the chosen one (that will be their biggest success), while blaming their failures in devoloping the country on Tsvangirai, makoni, Chamisa, Biti, the weather, sanctions, zebras in Gonarezhou (including zhou dzacho), global warming, Tony Blair, Obama. Only them are perfect and are blameless for any misfortunes that befall the country.

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    Liberator 11 years ago

    With Zanu Pf, its 1 step foward and a 100 steps backwards. As Zimbabweans we must find ways to end this evil dictatorship of ZANU.

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    Zeezee 11 years ago

    Won’t be long before we see all Facebook and Zim blogs, such as this, being shut down!

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    NANSI LENDODA 11 years ago

    It seems there is nothing good that can come out of Zanu PF or H.E. RG Mugabe according to YOU GUYS FROM THE PRESS. Tell us then who you think H.E. was to appoint into Cabinet. Everything else is not good enough. Sitsheleni ke elikufunayo nxaaa

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      Rudadiso 11 years ago

      Nansi Lendoda, we want competent people. These people have been ministers many times before and proved one thing only. .they are incompetent buffoons!

      Point one person in this cabinet who understands the portfolio they have been given. Before you mention Mzembi, just remember that he is the same brain dead individual who wants a theme park in Vic Falls. He isn’t even aware that Europeans wouldn’t travel to Africa for theme parks coz they have their own.

      But then again what can be expected from the dinosaur called Robert whose legacy after 33 years is a script on how not to run a country. An idiot can only appoint other idiots.

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      MikeH 11 years ago

      You got the general situation right in the first sentence. The only good (reward) to come out of zanupf was/is solely for those who kiss mugabe’s backside.

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      masvukupete 11 years ago

      @NANSI LENDODA Its not our job to know who to put in government. It is the president’s job to know who to put and to ensure they DELIVER. Its our job to criticise when we thing there is something wrong, just like in any job. We all have responsibilities and those in other fields will criticise us if we make wrong decisions. We all do our jobs wherever we are and most of us are good at it. We know the record of those in the “new” cabinet. We know from their records (or cd) they cannot deliver. The only successful project ever undertaken by HE Mugabe was his own education project. HE knows this subject very well but zvimwe zvose izvi HE Mugabe does not have a clue. Dhiziri ku Chinhoyi to try and solve our fuel crisis is 1 case in point to try. Removing zero is another case. Getting maize donations from Zambia is still another case. Where was Mbengegwi when the whole of the west were busy crafting the so called sanctions. We had a whole team of ambassadors under Samuel Mbengegwi dotted all over Europe being paid large sums of money and allowances yet couldnt solve the diplomatic crisis. A whole minister managed a chaotic land reform that destroyed irrigation systems yet he complains every year about a drought. We have major exports of diamonds yet we do not know where the money is going. If all these are not incompetencies I need someone to explain what it really is.

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    beck son 11 years ago

    Who are they representing,Zimbabwean did not vote for them.No matter what they do bad or good they are not representing the will of the Zimbabweans.U can’t force to do what u want just becoz u have guns,u cant even ashamed to lead people who did not vote for u.B warned u are going to fail again and we won’t b surprised because u had failed Zim even b4 what more harm are u prepared to strike Zim with,we are tired of u guy?

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    Mike Patterson 11 years ago

    Same clowns and same circus.

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    Diego Zhaba 11 years ago

    It’s dog eat dog chaiyo. Chinobuda hapana. The same old guards that drove Zim into hyperinflation. What do we expect ? The blame game for failure to deliver will soon be the song of the day .
    The WEST, Sanctions, Tsvangirai neMDC. A bunch of incompetent ZUNUs, Made will soon be taking another aerial view of the crop situation and declare that there is enough food to feed tha nation and have surplus for export. Jonathan has come back to ensure POSA is enforced and all these independent papers will soon be gone. Mahumbwe chaiwo. Panodiwa minamato siku nesikati Mwari vatiitire nyasha because kupinda in the 2009 situation again hatibudi.

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    Pachokwadi 11 years ago

    Pachokwadi a drowning man would cling to a straw. VaMugabe varikuramba kuenda nerukova varikubatirira pauswa hurimumapeto e rukova. Asi ngatizivei kuti uswa hurimuma hombekombe hwerukova hune midzi inehunyora, haunga poni nekubatirira pairi. Nehuremu hwemunhu akaita sa saMugabe handioni vachipona rwendo rwuno.

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    …Zimbabwe sanctions to the USA will ban Western songs from being aired on Zimbabwe Channels…and JonAh will be glad to enforce this just like what he did last time…a CIRCUS…

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    Dieuetmondroit 11 years ago

    Let us hear no excuses about sanctions and droughts, you made promises knowing that both are here to stay ‘coz nothing has been done about human rights violations and no irrigation in place. Worse still the new generation has been raised on a diet of hate.

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    Tatochembere mufunge zvenyu sekutamba. Imagine ini muna 1980 I was just 14 yrs…..muhondo kuBindura uko tisu vacho vekutumwa kunotenga midzanga yefodya nevakomana… I am 47 yrs Mugabe achingoti vhiringa-vhiringa badzi….mudzimu yedu yatifuratira sekutamba varume…. ko, chii nhai vanhuwee? ….basa handina, munda chaiwo ndeuya wemabhwe….ndaiti zvimwe maChinja auya hot moto chaiwo, ndiwo avekupinda panyanga mugore rino ra2013 asi kwete….. ivo vave kuti vatotanga kuunganidza vanhu kare mumaelections a2018 kuti vatiwachise here vakomana zvekare?….zvisinei Mwari ndivo vanoziva chinoita kuti tirambe tirivapenyu! Amen.