Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Zimbabwe Cabinet: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Zimbabwe's new Cabinet was announced today after a month-long wait. Let me just briefly unpack a few of the names and the issues surrounding the appointments (and non-appointments):

Amai Mujuru: Our Vice-President was clearly the winner in all of this. After wrestling supremacy of her own Mashonaland Central Province from another clique, she went ahead and stamped her authority on the make-up of the new Govt. Of-course President Mugabe (with the help of Chief Cabinet Secretary, Misheck Sibanda) is the final arbiter on all Cabinet appointments, but this Cabinet has "Amai Mujuru" written all over it.

Dzikamai Mavhaire: It's a mystery as to how a man who was once President Mugabe's chief critic, somehow managed to worm his way back into his good graces. Throughout the mid-80s and into the 90s he railed against President Mugabe's long reign, and yet, here he is back in Cabinet as Minister of Energy and Power Development. All I can speculate is that Cde Mavhaire "knows too much" and is too much of a loose-canon to be kept outside the tent, hence the need to have him tied down (inside the tent) with a Cabinet position.

Jonathan Moyo: If ever there was a man with nine lives then "The Nutty Professor" has to be that man. In fact, Harry Houdini couldn't touch this fellow when it comes to rebounding out of tight situations. At the Ministry of Information, the incoming Minister will have to bear with the obstreperous Permanent Secretary, George Charamba, as well as the equally verbose incoming Deputy-Minister, Supa Mandiwanzira. Expect fireworks at this Ministry as the three men (who are said not to get along) begin to squabble like junior wives in a polygamous household.

Walter Shamu: The appointment of the 67 year old Cde Shamu as I.C.T Minister is bizarre, to say the least. This has to be one of President Mugabe's strangest actions. A fiction-writer couldn't have made this one up.Ce n'est pas possible, the French would say. One wonders if our erstwhile I.C.T Minister owns a computer (or has ever sat down in front of a keyboard!)...anyway, let's move on.

Fancis Nhema: He's a decent fellow, calm and efficient, but are these the characteristics we need at the Indegenisation Ministry? Much of our industry is still in the hands of Westerners and White Zimbabweans and these folks do not yield an inch. I much preferred the "wrecking ball" approach of the previous Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere. A softly-softly approach might placate the markets, but that approach will not wrestle our industrial-capacity away from greedy Westerners. Having said that, let's see how Cde Nhema progresses in his new portfolio.

Josiah Hungwe: Poor old Josiah! The old Masvingo war-horse was rewarded for his seniority and loyalty with an obscure Ministry whose title is yet to be deciphered by the cognoscenti. What exactly is the job description for "The Minister of State for Liaising on Psychomotor Activities In Education and Vocational Training". What exactly are "Psychomotor Activities". Readers reading this paragraph would think that this writer has a vivid imagination and likes to make things up, but gentle readers, I kid you not! Such a Govt Ministry actually does exist in my beloved nation of Zimbabwe.

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