PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday reportedly reshuffled senior staff, kicking out his close confidante Ian Makone and others in one of the major shake-ups since the formation of the inclusive government.
Report by Moses Matenga, Staff Reporter
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka could neither confirm nor deny the developments.
However, senior officials in the Premier’s Office and the MDC-T party confirmed the reshuffle, saying this was the beginning of a major realignment of his office and more heads were expected to roll.
“If there is any realignment in the office of the PM, a formal announcement will be made. Anything else is speculation,” was all Tamborinyoka could say.
But the sources confirmed Makone, the Premier’s Chief Secretary, had been reassigned together with Chief of Protocol James Maridadi, his adviser Gandhi Mudzingwa and Principal Director for Policy Implementation in the PM’s Office Lazarus Muriritirwa.
Party sources told NewsDay Britain-based Zimbabwean lawyer Alex Magaisa was tipped to replace Makone, while Mudzingwa was also reportedly moved to Harvest House, the party headquarters, on promotion.
“There were certain issues that led to this development in the office. Makone was not moved entirely out of the system, but was given another responsibility,” another source said.
Senior MDC-T officials yesterday confirmed the “movements”, but could not give details.
“Yes, there are changes, but how does that constitute news? How many times has the President’s Office reshuffled and nothing has been said? The PM is the face of that office and he is there,” the official said.
Another MDC-T official added: “I don’t know whether that has been done or not, but there were plans to move Makone and make him responsible for something else and invite lawyers to help in the organisation.”
Last night, the media was awash with reports of the realignment in the PM’s Office, alleging the move came as a result of the manner in which the Premier’s love affairs were handled.
Others claimed Makone had been kicked out because of his family’s closeness to Tsvangirai’s estranged lover Locardia Karimatsenga-Tembo.
According to other media reports, Tsvangirai moved to reshuffle his team after he was advised that Makone and his wife, Theresa — who is Home Affairs co-minister — were reportedly paying legal bills for Karimatsenga-Tembo, who fought to block his wedding to Elizabeth Macheka in September and is also suing him for maintenance, according to sources.
Makone was not answering his mobile phone last night.