via Perform or be fired: Mugabe by Everson Mushava NewsDay September 12, 2013
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday said he is confident of his choice of Cabinet ministers which he said was based on provincial representation and the length of service in his party, Zanu PF.
He said he expected those chosen to deliver and put the interests of the people first, to improve their livelihoods, adding that non-performers would be fired.
Speaking to journalists at State House in Harare after the swearing-in ceremony for ministers, their deputies and provincial ministers, Mugabe admitted that corruption was a scourge in government, but said he could not punish individuals on the basis of unproven allegations.
“People expect me to act on corruption. They say so-and-so has emerged rich, has bought houses and is corrupt, without proving it. People are clever these days; they would say we took loans to acquire these properties. So how do you prove they stole? So the onus to prove this is on you the people that deal with them in these corrupt activities to come and tell me. We cannot victimise people because there is an appearance of a person prospering,” Mugabe said.
Back on the composition of his Cabinet,Mugabe said: “I am glad we have a team (of ministers) full of youngsters who will tomorrow, take over from us as long as they put the interests of people first.”
The new Cabinet comprises all old members who were either ministers or deputies in Mugabe’s previous governments with some having served from as early as 1980 when the country attained independence.
The President said he would have considered including the main opposition MDC-T for Cabinet positions, but could not do so because the party’s leader Morgan Tsvangirai had made public statements refusing to be part of his government.
Mugabe said his team would have a challenge to deal with the revival of the mining sector, agriculture and industry as well as the provision of basic services such as health, education, and infrastructural development.
Asked if his choice of Francis Nhema for the Indigenisation ministry, a man viewed as reserved and not so outspoken as compared to his predecessor, Saviour Kasukuwere, would not compromise the push for indigenisation, Mugabe said a book could not be judged by its cover.
“Nhema is an introvert, Kasukuwere is an extrovert, but don’t think that the one who talks a lot is the one who performs a lot. We expect all ministers to deliver. If the introvert goes to sleep, we chase him away,” Mugabe said.
The veteran leader said government would form mining joint ventures with foreign investors as long as they complied with the indigenisation policy. Government’s contribution, he said, would be the resources under the ground.
“We cannot be cheated any longer,” Mugabe said. “Our resources matter much more than their sophisticated equipment. Our contribution is what we have (underground). We have refused to add more capital. Digging does not make one the owner of the resources underground. Our resources are a possession that we would pass on as a legacy to future generations until Armageddon. We cannot deprive those future generations of what they are entitled by nature.”
Mugabe said the solution to keep the country’s economy afloat in the face of sanctions was hard work.
“Zimbabwe must just make progress. Sanctions, yes, we know they are there, but we must teach those sanctions people that no, Zimbabwe will never fall,” Mugabe said. “Yes, sanctions can be a predicament on us (but) we will find ways to make progress and we have other friends who really would want to work with us.”