Shoulders to the wheel…Ministers sworn in
Fungi Kwaramba and Wallace Ruzvidzo, Zimpapers Elections Desk
NEWLY appointed Cabinet Ministers have pledged to hit the ground running while their senior colleagues have vowed to consolidate the Second Republic’s transformative works that have been the hallmark of President Mnangagwa’s administration.
After taking their oath of office at State House in Harare yesterday, Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, and deputy Ministers — President Mnangagwa’s message of hard work and consolidation rang loud in their clarion calls for development.
Last week, the President, who presided over the Ministers’ swearing-in ceremony, told the world that the consolidation of gains made in his first term and the advancement of Zimbabwe’s dream to become an upper-middle-class economy will characterise his second term.
And that message was on every new Minister’s lips as they separately spoke to the media, embodying the mantra of the Second Republic, “Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo”.
New faces that took oaths of office yesterday included Cde Barbara Rwodzi, (Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry), Cde Edgar Moyo (Minister of Energy and Power Development), Cde Lovemore Matuke (Minister of Provincial Affairs in the Office of the President and Cabinet), Cde Torerai Moyo (Minister of Primary and Secondary Education) and Cde Tatenda Mavetera who is the Minister of Information, Communication Technology.
From humble beginnings as an actress, Minister Mavetera said her goal is to make sure ICTs penetrate every rural area in sync with President Mnangagwa’s thrust of leaving “no one and no place behind”.
“We are happy that His Excellency has been clear that we do not need to leave anyone behind. ICT is the bread of the world and we need to work on the issues so that will propel our ICT going forward.
In Zimbabwe we want to embrace it going forward, we want to come up with measures that will ensure we take ICT to the rural population. I am looking forward to this job and I am very excited,” said Min Mavetera.
In his new Cabinet, President Mnangagwa picked his ministers from across the country’s 10 provinces and in particular gave women top Government posts.
Min Rwodzi, who now heads the Ministry of Tourism, having previously served as a deputy Minister, said her goal is to ensure the sector meets its US$5 billion economic target by 2025.
“It feels good to be elevated, thanks to the Almighty and our President and his team that have made this decision.
“The focus is on working hard to grow our economy through tourism and our GDP through tourism.
“Putting our effort to grow tourism and put Zimbabwe on the tourism map across the world and to involve Zimbabweans that are in the diaspora to be a part of our tourism growth as well as grow domestic tourism,” she said.
Returning to Cabinet but with a new portfolio, Cde Jenfan Muswere, the new Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, said for Zimbabwe to achieve Vision 2030 to become an upper-middle-class economy, the nation must be informed.
“Concerning the new portfolio that I have just been reassigned, it speaks mainly to the cross-cutting nature of information, media, and broadcasting services across all spheres of this economy with respect to the fact that for us to achieve Vision 2030, we need an informed nation. It is to the benefit of us as Zimbabweans to have the right information. At the same time a knowledgeable society is very important in terms of fundamental rights and access to information, all that is guaranteed in the Constitution”.
Min Muswere added that he will be Minister of all media organisations, both private and public, as he takes on board journalists to help the country realise its goals and objectives.
“There will be a lot of sharpening in terms of national strategic direction, in terms of how the media will be able to contribute to the development of Zimbabwe. Of particular importance is that Zimbabwe comes first as we conduct ourselves. We also have a shared responsibility as public and private media for us to be able to shape the future of Zimbabwe. At the same time focusing primarily on ensuring that we unite the country by utilising all the media houses that we have. So we will have that shared responsibility and I also promise that I will be a Minister of all media houses as long as we are responsible media practitioners,” he said.
Min Muswere’s predecessor, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, who is now the Minister of Women Affairs, Community and Small to Medium Enterprises, said women and SMEs can help grow the economy.
“The biggest amount of taxes is coming from SMEs, all those need to be harnessed and make sure that the environment is good for them to produce more so that we can bring the economy to its proper level and there is no reason why not. I am very grateful that President Mnangagwa has given me this opportunity to work with women and SMEs. When we talk of SMEs that is the pulse of the economy, I think my job is well cut out and it comes from the people. The first thing I will do is have stakeholder consultations and find out what the SMEs and women of this country want. Women can handle this economy and take it to a higher level, women are capable, let’s pick them up, and support each other. We are saying we can bring our economy to a level we all want,” she said.
Set goals of the Second Republic also include infrastructure development and the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Felix Mhona, said starting today he will hit the ground running to continue with the infrastructure development projects.
“I am grateful to President Mnangagwa for the appointment. I am happy that for me this is not a new field anymore, but I am going to accelerate the projects that we started and also come up with innovative ways to rehabilitate our roads as well as gravitate towards the contemporary issues to do with road management and also learn from best practices of other countries. I am happy that from tomorrow it will be business as usual,” said Min Mhona.
From the old guard, the message was in harmony with the newcomers as they expressed confidence that tremendous works witnessed between 2018 and 2023 will be consolidated and accelerated, with the Minister of Finance and Investment Promotion, Professor Mthuli Ncube, saying the country’s economic growth trajectory will be sustained.
“The signal is continuity which I started with TSP (Transitional Stabilisation Programme). We then proceeded to National Development Strategy 1 which is under implementation and an implementation document for Vision 2030, so everything is on course. We expect GDP growth to be strong this year, we expect to be close to 6 percent. We continue with tight monetary and fiscal policies. The investment promotion needs to be elevated and it’s a good thing that the President saw it fit to elevate it. We want to ensure that all sectors are included and no sector is left behind. I am already thinking about how to restructure the ministry slightly so that we can accommodate the investment promotion function,” said Prof Ncube.
His deputy Cde Kudakwashe David Mnangagwa said he assumes his post faced with great expectations from the youths, who form his constituency, and he will not fail them.
“I am delighted but there is quite a huge expectation from a deputy minister coming in, in one of the toughest portfolios, also expectations from the constituency which are the youth. You find yourself in a situation where you have to prepare for a balancing act between the interests of the constituency, which is the youth, and to create opportunities and participation and at the same time deal with the issues at hand. At the same time, we are quite fortunate that the financial management team has already been working flat out to get the fundamentals right. NDS1 has seen Zimbabwe’s economy growing, the fastest in the region, which is a testament to the success of the programme, so you will find as we reach 2025, which is when NDS1 ends, you will see the trickle-down effects going to the ordinary person which is what we want to get to. I am excited to be an extra pair of hands to the team, the next two days will be familiarisation”.
Asked about his reaction upon hearing of his appointment, Dep Min Mnangagwa said he was shocked beyond belief.
“I spent the whole of yesterday in disbelief wondering if I would wake up and it’s still there, I was quite surprised but I am up to the task,” he said.
Right across the board, the ministers concur that the task is to take Zimbabwe towards Vision 2030, and they are raring to go.
The swearing-in of Cabinet Ministers was witnessed by Vice Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi.