New cabinet’s calibre questionable

via New cabinet’s calibre questionable – The Standard by Patrice Makova September 15, 2013

Mugabe’s new cabinet will only be able to deliver on its promises if competent people are appointed to key positions within the different ministries, analysts have said.

They said while there has been an outcry on the qualifications of some of the cabinet members as they have failed in the past, it was inadequate to judge the performance of a whole ministry on the basis of individual ministers.

But other analysts maintained that there was little hope that the new cabinet would perform “miracles”, as some of the ministers were no longer energetic due to old age, while others were only interested in enriching themselves.

Oxford University lecturer, Phil-lan Zamchiya said while there has been so much “hullaballoo” about individuals cabinet members, ministers were political figures and appointees.

He said it was Mugabe’s prerogative to appoint ministers of his choice from the elected MPs.

Zamchiya said the ability of the new cabinet to deliver would not be determined by individual ministers, but the whole governance structures which include permanent secretaries, principal directors and deputy ministers.

“Let us not be blinded by looking at individual ministers. They are part of the puzzle, but merely as figureheads,” he said.

“The permanent secretaries and principal directors will in fact be driving public policies, while ministers will just give political direction.”

Zamchiya said deputy ministers would also be part of the matrix and work towards ensuring government delivers.

He said a number of newly appointed deputy ministers were technocrats and could complement their bosses who might be old and less skilled.

Zamchiya cited Zanu PF politburo member and deputy minister of Energy and Power development Munacho Mutezo, who is an engineer by profession.

Mutezo deputises another Zanu PF politburo member, Dzikamai Mavhaire who has been in the “wilderness” for decades now after he was booted as Masvingo provincial governor.

Other notable technocrats and so-called “Young Turks” appointed deputy ministers include journalist Supa Mandiwanzira (Media and Information), Paul Chimedza (Health), Biggie Matiza (Local Government), Fred Moyo (Mines) and Win Mlambo (ICT).

Zamchiya said Mugabe’s chief secretary, Misheck Sibanda has already outlined to the new ministers, the government’s socio-economic blueprint which will guide them for the next five years.

He said one does not need a university degree to be a State President, simply the vote of the people.

“You just need to surround yourself with competent people,” said the Oxford University fellow. “Look at President Jacob Zuma of South Africa. He has no formal training but has surrounded himself with some of the best minds in that country. Zuma has thus done fairly well in terms of performance.”

But University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Shakespear Hamauswa differed with Zamchiya.

He said while cabinet ministers worked with qualified staff members, they were the fall guys if government failed to deliver.

Hamauswa said Mugabe should have struck a balance when he appointed his cabinet.

“You need both veteran politicians and technocrats who have the confidence of the international community, and can easily come up with strategies that can revitalise the economy,” he said.

Hamauswa said while some politicians could be good at mobilising people, they could be clueless when it came to running technical portfolios such as Energy, Climate Change, Finance and Industry.

He said by appointing Young Turks as deputy ministers, Mugabe was already looking ahead to 2018 elections.

“These deputy ministers are already being groomed for full ministerial positions. For the next five years they have to prove themselves, while also at the same time getting the necessary political experience,” said Hamauswa.

Notable appointments to cabinet include Patrick Chinamasa (Finance), Joseph Made (Agriculture), Walter Chidhakwa (Mines), Francis Nhema (Indigenisation), Jonathan Moyo (Media), Mike Bimha (Industry), Obert Mpofu (Transport), Lazarus Dokora (Primary and Secondary Education) and David Parirenyatwa (Health).

The new cabinet has to tackle corruption and an unemployment rate of over 80%, as well as revive industries and restore decaying infrastructure.

It also has to provide basic services such as health, education, water and electricity.


Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) executive director, Macdonald Lewanika said whereas people expected a cabinet to enhance the country’s economic fortunes, what they got were ministers “adept at improving their own and Zanu PF’s balance sheet”.

“It is apparent from the foregoing that the cabinet has also been used as part of a reward system that only entrenches Zanu PF’s patronage system,” he said.

He said CiZC’s view was that, depending on who would be chosen, it would indicate whether the government, would, in terms of the transition, regress, stagnate or move towards further reform and consolidation of some of the positive gains from the GNU period.

“The cabinet, as announced by Mugabe, is symbolic of the oxymoronic situation where the way forward is stated as being backwards,” said Lewanika.

“The new cabinet’s resemblance to the retrogressive, economy wrecking, freedom arresting war cabinet of 2002 is striking, both in terms of key actors and the politics represented.”


  • comment-avatar
    Tjingababili 10 years ago


  • comment-avatar
    georgesebedebe 10 years ago

    Know something, I like it when the opposition talk of dead wood in the new cabinet. That kind of thinking is what led the opposition to sleep walk into the July 31 elections. They preached about how old President Mugabe was and how he was no match for the supposedly young Tsvangirai only to be routed in the election. That is what I would like the opposition to continue to think!! But, alas, I got worried today after reading an article in the Daily News of 16 September 2013 tittled,’ The “Zanu PF fix-it Cabinet”is here’ by some Mhlanga guy. In this article, the writer warns the opposition against assuming that the recently sworn-in cabinet was dead wood, adding that fixers had already done their jobs and that they were moved to trouble spots to fix what needed to be fixed whilst methodological managers were moved to smoothen up things where fixers had left enermies in disarray. This kind of thinking is worrying because for once, here is someone, no doubt, a member of the opposition, who sees things for what they are. I hope this guy is one among the many fools in the opposition and that his ideas will not find takers. The opposition should continue to criticise for the sake of it and keep a blind eye to what destroys it. Tsvangirai or his soon-to-be successor should continue to advocate anti people policies such as sanctions, criticising land reform and indeginization policies and continue to say that the charitable West will pour in billions of dollars into our economy for nothing-just as long as Tsvangirai or his successor wins. Tsvangirai should continue to regard the general populace as being brainless as he is. This will give us more time, space and capacity to continue to rule now whilst ensuring our sons and daughters, our grand children and those that shall come after them will continue to rule Zimbabwe and not foreigners or Europeans.

  • comment-avatar
    easily fooled 10 years ago

    Prof. Zamchiya, you got it wrong. Show me any minister in Zim who listens to the voice of reasoning. What yu said may be true in any country of the world except Zimbabwe. Gono, after dreading fire tried to tell Kasikuwerere (something whose brains are gone by the river). To stop talking about indegenizing banks, what did he do? He said i m the minister of indigenisation so shut up or f**k off (cant remember the precise term). Tendai Biti wanted to account fo inflows from mine Obbie Mpofu said, Hourable, you can go hang….resulting in the road accident of a young minister driving from Bindura. Min of Justice, info, the same. So prof, you got it WRONG this time