via Chinamasa’s new finance role questioned | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell
Robert Mugabe’s decision to appoint ZANU PF acolyte Patrick Chinamasa to the head of the Finance Ministry has raised many questions, in the wake of Tuesday’s Cabinet unveiling.
Chinamasa, a lawyer who was the Justice Minister in the previous government, takes over the key ministerial post from the MDC-T’s Tendai Biti.
He joins other ZANU PF hardliners in the new Cabinet, which some analysts have said puts paid to any hope of change in Zimbabwe.
As Justice Minister, Chinamasa oversaw the repeated arrests and detention of supporters and members of the MDC, and also supported the judicial system’s loyalty to ZANU PF. He has also been a key weapon in Mugabe’s arsenal, helping draft legislation that legalised the fast-track land grab campaign, and also legislation that saw the clampdown on media freedom in the country.
Chinamasa has previous experience at the helm of the Finance Ministry when he performed the duty in an acting capacity in 2009 before the formation of the unity government.
It was Chinamasa who decided to introduce a multi-currency system in Zimbabwe in 2009, after the local currency spectacularly collapsed as a result of ZANU PF induced hyperinflation and economic mismanagement.
Chinamasa has also been a strong campaigner for the removal of targeted restrictive sanctions still in place on the Mugabe regime by Western nations, and it is thought he will continue this campaign as Finance Minister.
Economic analyst Masimba Kuchera said that Chinamasa’s key challenge also lies in trying to deliver on the promises his party made during the election period, such as widespread debt relief and financial investment.
“I think bringing Chinamasa into the Finance Ministry is a sign that Mugabe wanted someone he could trust in this position. If you look at the Cabinet now, there are very few people Mugabe could have trusted putting in that position,” Kuchera said.