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Analysing Mugabe’s Cabinet reshuffle - The Grace effect

10 Oct 2017 at 06:03hrs | Views
After a week of tension in his party and government, Mugabe has reshuffled his cabinet. Mugabe has dealt with the succession tension Machiavellian style. If there is anything Mugabe is known for, it's his shrewd political nature. A personality so focused on their own interests they will manipulate, deceive, and exploit others to achieve their goals. In terms of section 100 (200) (c) and (d) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, former Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa was appointed Minister of newly created ministry of Cyber security, threat detection and Mitigation.

This was probably a surprise to most, yes, in an interview with Ruvheneko on capital FM in the past week or so, he showed very little understanding of the economic fundamentals be-devilling our nation. In short, he was struggling. In his place we see the appointment of former local government minister, Ignatius Chombo. He is a man best known for being extremely corrupt, with the extent of his ill-gotten wealth exposed when he was divorcing his wife. His appointment does not inspire confidence. He is however extremely loyal to Grace Mugabe and the president. A friend to the establishment, so to speak.

Former tourism minister, Walter Mzembi, Mugabe's blue-eyed boy was given the foreign affairs ministry. Former foreign affairs minister Samuel Mumbengegwi was appointed Minister of Macro -economic planning. Walter Mzembi has proved himself as the par-excellence international diplomat with major gains made when he was tourism minister. He will be useful in reengaging the international community and foster relations between countries. Samuel Mumbengegwi for the first time moves away from the shadow of his president. Pictures are awash in the public domain of him asleep next to the president at international platforms. Walter Mzembi may change this image. He is replaced by former deputy foreign affairs Minister Edgar Mbwembwe, a very little-known minister in the bigger scheme of things.

After being sick and bedridden for many months, Simon Khaya Moyo returns and is given the information ministry. I hear there a lot of teary people out there. There was some kind of expectation that the information portfolio will go back to Professor Jonathan Moyo. I have it on good record that some former Editors of state newspapers were bracing for a comeback. It was not to be. Simon Khaya Moyo has always been in the president's office. It will be interesting to see how he handles the information ministry.

Saviour Kasukuwere, former environment minister goes back to his local government job. As environment minister, he was in charge of the national parks and it is alleged that he together with Professor Jonathan Moyo were exporting elephants to China with no benefit to the fiscus. Maybe this was Mugabe's way of fixing this anomaly. No major surprises there. This ministry works well with his commissar duties with all the stands he gives to the youthies in ZANU PF.

Perhaps another surprise appointment is Major General (rtd) Happy ton Bonyongwe, former director general of the Zimbabwean government intelligence agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation. Strange to see him in the justice ministry. This portfolio has been held mostly interchangeable between Patrick Chinamasa and Emmerson Mnangagwa. He is a retired general and perhaps it is time for some tough love in the justice ministry. We shall wait and see.

Before the reshuffle, the justice ministry was held by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. He and perhaps the goings on in the last few days may have triggered off this cabinet reshuffle. Awarding the justice ministry to Happyton Bonyongwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa is now just the Vice president of the country. He has no real ministerial duties anymore. Perhaps this was the intention of this reshuffle. Following changes to the constitution Mugabe appoints both his vice presidents and judges. What this means effectively is, Mnangagwa is no longer a minister, he does not represent a constituency and therefore does not carry with him a mandate from the electorate. His constituency, Churumanzu-zibagwe was taken over by his wife Auxullia Mnangagwa.

Following the public spat with the Grace Mugabe, it was not possible for Emmerson Mnangagwa to come out unscathed. The old adage applies, "keep your friends close, your enemies even closer". Mugabe has managed to carry out the wishes of his wife and still keep mnangagwa close to him. He is now a lame duck vice president who can be fired anytime and not have a government position to fall back on. He is a victim of "The Grace effect". He is still needed to deliver the masvingo and midlands ballot next year, perhaps subject to good behaviour, he may be discarded or kept in the circle. It however remains to be seen as to what extent this hand will affect his presidential ambitions. At best he is now a presidential appointee with no ministerial role. A vice president in the current constitution is merely a ceremonial figure serving at the whim of the president.

Perhaps Grace Mugabe was right after all, her husband gave him the job. He(she) can hire and fire him anytime.

This reshuffle also sees the return of the prodigal sons, Paul Chimedza and Webster shamu.  Both were generally believed to have sympathised with the deposed former vice president Joice Mujuru who was also dismissed from government on allegations fanning factionalism, corruption, abuse of office and plotting to remove president Mugabe from power. Chimedza and shamu were believed to have been linked to this so called Mujuru faction which suffered heavy blows through dismissals from both party and government. They both have been in the wilderness for a while. Webster Shamu returns as Minister of State for Mashonaland west province.  Dr Paul Chimedza replaces the late national heroine Shuvai Mahofa as Ministry of State for Masvingo. It will be interesting to see how Chimedza will interface with Mnangagwa and company in Masvingo. Perhaps Mugabe does these things deliberately to keep everyone in check. Whatever it maybe, the grace effect was very visible in this reshuffle.

Source - Lloyd Msipa
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