PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed his new Cabinet team which is a fusion of old hands and new faces entrusted with taking Zimbabwe forward. The new Cabinet is a healthy mix of tried and trusted ministers with an injection of technocrats who will surely bring in the much needed impetus to spur economic growth.
True to his word, President Mnangagwa trimmed the Cabinet from 33 (later whittled down to 26) who were in the previous regime appointed after the 2013 harmonised elections to 22, illustrating his seriousness in inculcating a culture of reduced Government expenditure. In this regard, he merged some ministries while doing away with some completely –a sign that he expects efficiency in the Government bureaucracy.
In the key ministries, he re-appointed Cde Patrick Chinamasa to the Finance and Economic Development portfolio so that he continues the good work he had begun before he was reassigned to the Cyber Security ministry in the last reshuffle. Zimbabwe was making steady progress in its re-engagement efforts with multilateral financial institutions and had cleared its debt to some Bretton Woods institutions.
It was in the process of rationalising its bloated civil service in line with best practices and there were indications that its reforms were resonating well with international lenders. As Vice President with oversight over key economic ministries in the previous administration, Cde Mnangagwa worked closely with Minister Chinamasa in implementing far reaching reforms which were beginning to bear fruit.
Treasury is therefore in capable hands and this month’s national budget presentation will give the nation insight into what the Government has in store for them. There was absolutely no need for the President to appoint a completely new minister to the Finance portfolio a mere six months before the next election when there is obviously a need for someone who can hit the ground running.
Cde Chinamasa and his counterpart in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development, Dr Mike Bimha, will shoulder most of the responsibilities for turning around the country’s economy in the short term while staying true to the President‘s vision for zero tolerance to corruption, improved work ethic, ease of doing business and attracting Foreign Direct Investment.
Technocrats and academics like Professor Clever Nyathi (Minister of Labour and Social Welfare), Prof Amon Murwira (Higher Education, Science and Technology Development), Mr Winston Chitando (Mines and Mining Development) and Cde July Moyo (Local Government, Public Works and National Housing) will bring the much needed fresh ideas and energy to their portfolios which are crucial to the quest to turn the economy around. Mr Chitando, in particular, is a businessman with a vast knowledge of the mining industry having been at the helm of Mimosa Mining Company for many years.
He brings youth, energy and vibrancy to Cabinet and will advise the President on the concerns and needs of the industry. Prof Nyathi, a former National University of Science and Technology Pro Vice Chancellor, is a brilliant academic who is currently Senior Advisor at the Independent Electoral Commission of Lesotho. He is also a former staffer at the United Nations Development Programme.
In a refreshing departure from the past, President Mnangagwa has brought in members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces into Cabinet where they will bring their expertise in various fields.
Major General Sibusiso Moyo, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, has studied diplomacy and international relations and is expected to acquit himself well in that portfolio. Zimbabweans will fondly remember him for the sterling role he played in the security services’ intervention to weed out criminal elements around former President Robert Mugabe.
His composure and eloquence when he appeared on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Television (ZBCtcv) in the early hours of Wednesday November 15 endeared him to the nation and saw him nicknamed “General Bae”. Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri (Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement) is an accomplished farmer who will superintend over Government’s Command Agriculture programme.
His task is made easier by the fact that the programme was a massive success in its maiden season and he just needs to build on that momentum and ensure another bumper harvest. The new Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Cde Chris Mutsvangwa, is a diplomat, businessman and chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association.
His communication skills are second to none and there is no doubt that he will manage the flow of information in Government with impeccable finesse. He is a media friendly politician with vast experience in Government and will glide smoothly into his new portfolio.
The new Cabinet is expected to hit the ground running given the plethora of challenges facing the nation. We urge the people of Zimbabwe to give the new Ministers a chance to execute their duties to the best of their abilities. Lets remember that they serve at the pleasure of their principal – the President – whose vision Zimbabweans have fully embraced.