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Tendai Biti's take on Mugabe's Cabinet

11 Sep 2013 at 19:56hrs | Views
 Wananchi, the new Cabinet was finally announced on Tuesday 10 September 2013, and many Zimbabweans are still grasping with shock and disbelief.

The whole essence of an executive is to be able to competently and honestly confront the huge challenges of the day, resolve them and take the country to another level.

An executive that will excite, rejuvenate, and galvanize, public moral and will have the citizen salivating in anticipation.

The truth of the matter is that you will hardly find any Zimbabwean across party lines who will contradict the contention that that this group of men and women will not take us anyway.

It is a bridge too far. Despite my fears I am one of those who genuinely hoped that Zanu-PF would confound all of us and assemble a cabinet full of younger technocrats, determined to a make a difference and push the country forward.

As a matter of fact there is a core of these fresh young turks that would surely have been promoted to the highest chamber in the land on merit.

Beyond the young Turks, the seven cabinet positions allowed in the new Constitution would then have been used to attract top brass Zimbabweans from outside Zanu-PF to provide some steel and verve in the new Cabinet.

That on its own would have been paradigmatic and may have in fact initiated the Rethink of State and Development, that is so fundamentally required if this country were to have any fighting chance.

The country has a kwashiorkor of renewal and new energy. It needed just that little jab of energy.

Instead how predictable it all became. How self fulfilling the prophesy was. It is back to the past. A past of slumber, mediocrity, in fighting and indifference.

A past of the capacity to do the undo able no matter the consequences.

What I have referred to recently as  "yet another cycle of sterility, excuse creation, retrogression and stagnation. The same cycle of oligarchy and exhausted nationalism."

It is so regrettable when merit is sacrificed over politics patronage and even a hint of nepotism.

The new cabinet represents the triumph of politics, political balancing over merit and the obligation and not the imperator of putting the country first.

There are clearly persons there who ought not to be there on merit alone. They know themselves. They know that they reached their ceiling a long time ago.

This a group that gives probative value to the false notion that sangomas and marabouts or dubious shoeless. "prophets" actually work. A whole generation now sinking into the doomed and murky world of the occult.

But first and foremost, the cabinet is a reward, a sharing of the booty to the most vicious generals who were at the centre of the rigging of the 2013 election.

Yes the chaos faction had been rewarded and rewarded plumly. Bar the ministry of mines probably have gotten everything they would have wanted.

Secondly very evidently is the construction of a cabinet constructed on ethnic balancing. Each region has representatives, no matter their ignorance.

How else would you explain the appointments of the gold panner Langa and the affable Dzikamayi Mavhaire to name a few.

Ethnic balancing per se, is not the issue. After all the constitution, demands regional and gender balancing in the appointment of the same.

It is when the regional representatives are not appointed on merit but yardsticks of shocking factionalism and dubious loyalties that the matter becomes a major issue of concern.

Thirdly is a cabinet that is also viciously rooted in succession politics. The changes at the ministry of Defence need unpacking.

So too the exclusion of key people linked to one faction. Clearly in terms of numbers one faction has obviously gained an upper hand.

The other faction will just devise ways of hitting back, so the cycle of de stability continues. Fourthly, this a cabinet, that can not escape a little whiff of nepotism. Analyse it closely.

Fifth lay this is a very hawkish, power retention cabinet where known warriors of chaos have been placed in certain key positions.

This is regrettable in that these should be moments of sober ness and reflection.

A time for building, a time for uniting. A time for healing.  So the Revolutionary Party is not demobilising,

It shall be a long winter of despair. But this is also a cabinet that also undermines the new Constitution in three material respects.

The first is the appointment of Ministers responsible for Provinces. That clearly is a gross undermining of the provisions dealing with devolution in the new constitution .

The new constitution provides for Provincial Chairs to chair provincial or metropolitan Councils.

Appointing provincial ministers undermines the spirit of the constitution. But more importantly the provincial chairs themselves .

The second layer of undermining the constitution, is in respect of those appointed, as experts, without holding seats in parliament. I see Jo Made, Lazarus Dokora and a few others.

The constitution is very clear that those to be appointed from outside, have to be appointed on the basis of "professional skills and competences."

Notice that the constitution does not refer to professional qualifications. Notice further that it refers to competency. That is where the challenge is. One needs great power of persuasion to convince any one that that those appointed on amnesty meet these constitutional requirements.

The third is the is that, in breach of the provisions of the new Constitution that requires gender balancing in the appointment of cabinet and more importantly gender equality, the cabinet is stiflingly patriachical and in breach of the constitution.

Having four or five women out of thirty or so appointees is not in compliance with the law.

A further issue of concern is that, despite the nominal reduction of ministries, the Government still remains botched.

The size of this Government is disproportionate to the size of this economy. Particularly where the excuse of the GNU has gone.

I am fully aware of the consequences on the fiscus and heaven forbid. Rather interestingly is the balance sheet of the abolished stand alone ministries.

These include the erstwhile Ministries of Housing, ICT in its old form, Public Service, Science and Technology, Regional Integration, Public Works, State Enterprises, Economic Planning, Environment and Regional Integration.

All of these bar environment were held by the MDC. A clear message that these were unnecessary inconveniences parcelled out to "a weak coalition partner."


Dropping housing and environment as ministries in a country like Zimbabwe is questionable. These are two important issues that need address.

It is rather interesting and ironic that Environment has been abolished as a stand alone ministry.

From a party that is a grand master at recycling old material, this is rather surprising.

But let me end by being true to my African roots and wish everyone appointed genuine and bona fide good luck in your new positions.

The new Government faces many challenges but the citizen hopes and trusts you shall put our country first and execute your duties with diligence, bona fides, competency and objective.

Those of us who now know more than one or two things about governance will always be ready to give intellectual input, if required.

But trust me where you err, the citizen will speak. Thats the role of us, the Wananchi.

Finally may God Bless Zimbabwe.

A looter continua.


Source - Tendai Biti
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