08 AUG 2013 10:33 TAKUDZWA MUNYAKA | Mail & Guardian
Analysts say Mugabe will try to balance his appointments between tribal and factional lines.
After controversially winning the presidential elections, President Robert Mugabe is expected to appoint his Cabinet soon, and he has a very large pool to choose from after his party won 160 of the 210 seats that were up for grabs.
Zanu-PF also won the majority in the senate house. Each person who won a parliamentary or senatorial seat is eligible for appointment into the Cabinet.
Political analysts believe that in appointing his Cabinet, Mugabe will try to balance his appointments along tribal and factional lines.
Zanu-PF has two main factions, one led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru and the other by outgoing Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, although both deny leading any factions.
“He might have a large pool to choose from, but he has little latitude in terms of skills,” said political analyst Ibbo Mandaza.
“It will be difficult to replace people like Tendai Biti, Arthur Mutambara, David Coltart, Elton Mangoma and Welshman Ncube, who were very skilled. He may have to utilise non-constituency parliamentary members to get the skills he needs into government,” he said.
“The Cabinet may be reflective of the old age of the president, who is no longer able to lead like he used to in the 1980s. We mustn’t look too forward to a transformative type of government.”
Another analyst, Dumisani Nkomo, said that for the sake of stability, Mugabe may appoint “one or two” people from the Movement for Democratic Change formations as well as some respected people outside Parliament to get technical skills into the Cabinet.
“It’s anybody’s guess, but there will obviously be ethnic balancing and balancing the interests of the factions. For the sake of credibility, he may act like a statesman and become reconciliatory by appointing people like Nelson Chamisa and Coltart into Cabinet,” said Nkomo.
“He may also appoint a war Cabinet with the hawks in his party, but that may be suicidal.”
Whether Mugabe becomes reconciliatory or not, going by precedence, he is likely to draw his ministers from politburo members because he respects seniority. Most Zanu-PF members of the outgoing Cabinet will be returned, though under different portfolios.
This means people who have been around Mugabe since the 1980s, including Mnangagwa, Sydney Sekeramayi, Nicholas Goche and Didymus Mutasa, are likely to be appointed.
Zanu-PF Women’s League boss, Oppah Muchinguri, who was not in the 2008 Cabinet, could also bounce back. She is one of the party members who will take up the quota seats for women.
Outgoing members of the Cabinet and trusted members Olivia Muchena, Sithembiso Nyoni, Obert Mpofu, Savior Kasukuwere, Francis Nhema and Kembo Mohadi are all in the running for the Cabinet.
Outgoing Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who played a central role in ensuring Zimbabwe had a rushed election without implementing the election roadmap and the Global Political Agreement, will likely be rewarded with a Cabinet post.
There may be a sprinkling of new blood too in Mugabe’s Cabinet, but most young turks are likely to get deputy ministerial post.
Mugabe will also have to appoint a second vice-president to fill the vacancy created by the death of John Nkomo in January.
Mugabe did not replace him, despite intense jostling for the position among Zanu-PF leaders from the Matabeleland region.
At the signing of the Unity Accord between Zanu-PF and its rival PF-Zapu in 1987, the parties agreed that one of the country’s vice-presidents should be from the Matabeleland region and the other should be Shona-speaking.
Zanu-PF national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo, Zimbabwe’s former ambassador to South Africa, will likely fill Nkomo’s shoes because he is the most senior former PF-Zapu official in Zanu-PF’s current setup.
Moyo has been battling for the post with politburo member Obert Mpofu, who has used his wealth to build a power base in the Matabeleland region.
Mujuru is assured of retaining her post as the first vice-president.