Mugabe battles Zanu PF factions

via Mugabe battles Zanu PF factions – DailyNews Live 13 September 2015 by Bridget Mananavire

HARARE – A rattled President Robert Mugabe — reeling from this week’s dramatic re-entry into national politics by former Vice President Joice Mujuru, and severely weakened by his advanced age as well as Zanu PF’s brutal factional and succession wars — has enlarged his already bloated Cabinet, while tinkering with ministerial portfolios.

Analysts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday described the new Cabinet appointments as both “uninspiring” and “a complete waste” of scarce State resources, at a time that the country is said to have hit the depths of humanitarian and economic despair that were last experienced in 2008, when Zimbabwe’s perennial political crisis precipitated an economic meltdown of monumental proportions which culminated in the death of the Zimbabwe dollar.

At the same time, Zanu PF insiders said the superfluous Cabinet additions and ministerial re-assignments were a desperate endeavour by the embattled nonagenarian to manage the ruling party’s escalating ructions, that began with the ill-conceived purge of Mujuru and other liberation struggle stalwarts late last year, and in which Mugabe’s controversial wife, Grace, played a starring role.

In this game of musical chairs, in which Mugabe added an astounding 14 new faces to his “deadwood” team in the current dire market conditions, the nonagenarian once again promoted his sister’s son, Patrick Zhuwao, appointing him as the new minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment — where he replaced Chris Mushowe, who is the new minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services.

The hapless Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo — who used to be a senior minister and was not so long ago number three in both Zanu PF and the government — fell further from the relatively more significant position of minister of Economic Planning, to the lesser portfolio of minister of Policy Coordination and Promotion of Socio-Economic Ventures in the President’s Office.

Well-placed Zanu PF sources told the Daily News last night that Khaya-Moyo, who was previously linked to Mujuru before her ouster from power, may have paid a price for her recent re-entry into national politics.

Jorum Gumbo, a close ally of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, becomes minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, while Makhosini Hlongwane becomes minister Without Portfolio in the President’s Office.

Abednigo Ncube becomes political head of a ministry curiously named Rural Development and Preservation of the National Cultural Heritage — while Mugabe’s “most obedient son”, Obert Mpofu, moves from Transport to the tweaked Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion portfolio.

Among a plethora of costly new deputy ministers are Annastasia Ndlovu at Tourism, Bertha Chikwama at Lands and Resettlement, Edgar Mbwembwe at Foreign Affairs and Tapiwa Matangaidze at the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

Tshinga Dube is the new deputy minister of War Veterans, War Collaborators and Detainees;  Christopher Chingosho is deputy minister of Local Government, Public and National Housing; and Michael Madanha becomes deputy minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development.

The new deputy minister of Health and Child Care is Aldrin Musiiwa; Thokozile Mathuthu is deputy minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services; while Monica Mutsvangwa becomes deputy minister at the Macro-Economic Planning ministry.

As Zanu PF’s ugly factional and succession wars continue unabated, Grace was last week reported to have vetoed efforts by Mnangagwa to get the ruling party’s deputy secretary for administration, July Moyo, appointed as a minister of State in the VP’s office.

Well-placed sources told the Daily News’ sister title, the Daily News on Sunday last week, that Grace, in line with what has been happening in Zanu PF and in government since late last year, flexed her considerable political muscles, forcing her frail nonagenarian husband to appoint little-known Clifford Sibanda instead to be minister in Mnangagwa’s office.

Sibanda was also sworn in as a minister yesterday.

A long time ally of Mnangagwa, Moyo is seen as one of the key strategists behind Mnangagwa’s rising political stock, and had for weeks ahead of the superfluous Cabinet additions been tipped to become a minister again — this time, in the Midlands godfather’s office.

But the gaffe-prone Grace — who has been reported to have had fierce run-ins with Mnangagwa in recent weeks over Mugabe’s succession, and who has openly boasted of instructing the country’s two VPs about what to do in their State duties — is said to have held sway over the appointment process.

Asked to comment on his appointment yesterday, Gumbo said, “For the particular portfolio that I have been appointed to, it’s about infrastructure development. I have to look at three areas, railways, air transport and the situation of our roads”.

Patrick Zhuwawo said, “What I need to do first is to pick up from where my predecessors left off. I believe it will be my responsibility to ensure that we still continue with that programme of Indigenisation, as articulated by his Excellency the President.”

Makhosini Hlongwane said, “Well if you look at the 10-point plan presented by the president, you will see that there is a lot of energy in government around the issue of the development agenda.

“It is my view that everybody in government must begin to obviously focus in that direction on how do we develop as a country, and how we make up for lost time given that we have lost so much under the age of sanctions.”