September 09 2018 – PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed a 20 member cabinet comprising of 6 women. He went further and appointed the first ever woman defence minister in the country’s history and also a non-party woman into the youth ministry.
In Professor Mthuli Ncube, the President picked a seasoned technocrat to handle the country’s purse, signalling his intention to turn the fortunes of the country. The question is, will the professor be able to act and also be given room to act, considering his limited knowledge of party dynamics?
Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri becomes the country’s first female defence minister. Depending upon her allegiances, this could be a masterstroke from the President. If her appointment is not coming from VP Chiwenga, it means Mnangagwa’s position as head of state is now secure and he will complete his 10 years.
The departure of Mike Bimha from Industry means former President Mugabe and his wife’s influence is gone. The appointment of Mangaliso Ndolvu kills two birds with one stone; youth and regional balance.
Perrence Shiri in an expanded portfolio is a mystery. Was he the author of Command Agriculture? Is there Gukurahundi undertones to his continued stay in cabinet? It looks like a safe and comfortable posting. After all, it was Made’s preserve during the Mugabe era.
Mupfumira, Ziyambi and Nyoni are clear rewards of loyalty and Kashiri can be added to that list. The difference is the first three are in safe clear-cut ministries, where they can rest quietly with minimal friction with the nation.
Chitando, Gumbo and Matiza however will be in the firing line to perform. Chitando has made his blunders in mining but seems to have weathered the storm. The scandals in the diamond industry hopefully have sharpened him more and he has solutions to the challenges there.
Moyo at Health, Coventry at Youth and Mutsvangwa at Information will be very interesting. Moyo has a huge challenge to turn around health infrastructure, combat rampart medical aid companies and address staffing issues. A huge shadow of lack of performance by departing Parirenyatwa may just help him.
Coventry is a huge blind spot. Everyone is looking at Sport and ignoring the Youth aspect of her ministry. It is the Youth aspect that is very key to her performance. Zanu PF youths will be waiting impatiently for their feeding trough. Youth mobilisation towards 2023 will be interesting. As it were, her salvation may just be in sport. How well she understands soccer will definitely help her.
Mutsvangwa at Information! Phew! She has fireballs coming onto her lap. There is the digitisation that is stalled. Then Mahoso licensing craters and the recent awarding of Radio and TV licences to AMH are all waiting for her. If Trevor Ncube’s modus operandi continues, he will allow those entities their independence and ZBC will be in trouble.
On the whole, the cabinet is a bold statement of intent by the court sanctioned President Mnangagwa. It is a mixture of past, present and future that may combine well to dig Zimbabwe out of the current hole.
The biggest factor however, will be how Mnangagwa holds back the hawks in his party and allow Zimbabwe to take a step into the future. That behind the scenes activity will determine whether 2.1 million people in urban centres will feel like giving Zanu PF a chance in 2023.
Fungai Chiposi is a former Independent MP Candidate for Southerton constituency in Harare in the just ened parliamentary elections. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
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