President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s political opponents have expressed differing opinions over the country’s new cabinet with some calling on the state leader to redeploy long serving permanent secretaries who could turn a stumbling block in efforts by their new bosses to change the course of doing business within government corridors.
Mnangagwa Friday announced a 20-member cabinet in which he co-opted top academic and banker Mthuli Ncube to finance while Olympics multi-gold medallist Kirsty Coventry was given sports.
Top Zanu PF politicians Obert Mpofu and Patrick Chinamasa were among high profile figures who failed to make it to cabinet this time.
Mnangagwa however kept Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Sithembiso Nyoni, Monica Mutsvangwa, Prisca Mupfumira and Joram Gumbo among some old faces that have constituted past governments.
Former Energy Minister and now opposition Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) leader, Elton Mangoma said Mnangagwa must proceed to rid government corridors of old permanent secretaries.
“This kind of reshuffle must be extended to the permanent secretaries in order for the incoming ministers to move in with new ideas,” he said.
“But the cabinet is definitely much better than I feared it could be.
“What is left is what philosophy they are going to use. Whether these people are allowed to have little room to manouvre, particularly to do with finance.
“The key issue that will drive the economy is how the currency issue is going to be dealt with, whether they will stop the printing of treasury bills and whether they will be able to live within a reasonable means and not continue to rely on treasury bills.”
Mangoma said after all the talk about the new cabinet, one critical matter the new office bearers should address as a matter of urgency was currency.
“If it’s not resolved by December, then the hyperinflation will come in and it will be very difficult to then deal with it afterwards.”
Linda Masarira, MDC-T spokesperson, said the new cabinet was a breath of fresh air but lacked gender balance.
“It is a breath of fresh air to see a young woman in the cabinet, young men in the cabinet,” she said.
“There was an effort for inclusion; it is a positive.
“We have been crying about the marginalisation of young people and women in governance issues.
“I am disappointed by the violation of Section 17 and 56 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe; he must have promoted gender balance.”
Masarira was however not blind to the silver lining within cabinet appointments.
“I am relatively impressed by the new cabinet.
“I think it should be given a chance to turn around the fortunes of our country…”
MDC Alliance information committee member Jacob Mafume described the new line-up as “old wine” and bloated with 43 ministers who will soon take delivery of 86 top of the range vehicles at the tax payer’s expense.
“The much touted minister of finance, though looking polished, has more of academic credentials than experience in public finance,” said Mafume.
“The crowd of ministers are the same people who led us into this mess in the first place. They have been there since independence. It’s a case of changing a room in the same haunted house.”
“The ghosts of failure will follow you to the other room. Zanu PF is rotating itself like a merry go round from hell.”
MDC spokesperson, Kuraoune Chihwayi said Mnangagwa should seek divine intervention if he was hoping to see miracles from his “village friends and land barons in his cabinet”.
“This is the worst Zanu PF cabinet that we have seen since 198O. We are seeing dead wood and Mnangagwa praise singers with a tainted history.”
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