PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday swore in six ministers at State House following Monday’s Cabinet reshuffle that largely targeted officials perceived to be loyal to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
The six are Justice minister Happyton Bonyongwe, Chiratidzo Mabuwa (Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Employment), Edgar Mbwembwe (Tourism), Webster Shamu (Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs), Paul Chimedza (Masvingo Provincial Affairs) and Thokozile Mathuthu (Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs).
Patrick Chinamasa was demoted from the Finance ministry to that of Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation, Priscah Mupfumira, Abednico Ncube and Tshinga Dube were dropped, while those widely seen to be loyal to a anti-Mnangagwa Zanu PF faction were on the ascendancy.
Although Mnangagwa remained composed, Mugabe and Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko looked extremely jovial, cracking jokes with the newly-appointed ministers.
Mphoko left delegates in stitches when he suggested a switch be found to whip the new ministers to welcome them to their new roles.
Mnangagwa expressed confidence that the reshuffle, widely believed to have weakened his alleged ambitions, would bring positive results.
Mnangagwa said there was always expectation that new blood would bring new ideas to save the economy.
“It is the President’s pleasure to introduce new blood into Cabinet and, as he said, he has been looking at us and our performances and in some areas he indicated the performance was not up to his expectation and as a result of that he has done a reshuffle,” Mnangagwa said.
Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba dismissed speculation that Chinamasa’s new ministry was created as one of the “jobs for the boys” so that he continues enjoy ministerial benefits.
“The President was very clear in his mind that he is dealing with an emerging threat to the State of Zimbabwe, a threat that is founded on abuse and unlawful conduct in cyber space and a threat which is sui generis, which is unusual and quite new and therefore it needs the development of a new board of law,” Charamba said.
He said the ministry was given to Chinamasa based on his experience as a lawyer and that he would be able to gather from many countries such as China and Russia on how they have dealt with cyber security threat.
The Information permanent secretary said the ministry was given birth by reports on social media that the economy was taking a nosedive, prompting people into panic-buying.
In separate interviews, the newly-appointed ministers expressed happiness on their new mandates.
“I hope I will be able to make a positive contribution to my country and that is something that has always motivated me,” Bonyongwe said.
Chimedza, who is inheriting fierce factional wars in Masvingo, said he would try his best to unite the province. Masvingo is regarded as one of the sources of internal wars in Zanu PF and has proved ungovernable in terms of Zanu PF internal matters.