Political parties, civic groups and other stakeholders in Matabeleland are skeptical of the region’s prospects under the new cabinet announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week after his controversial win in the August 23 elections.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) declared Mnangagwa winner of the disputed polls, which were described as not free and fair by several election observer missions, including the Sadc, African Union and Comesa.
The main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa is disputing the poll results, but refused to seek remedy from the courts citing alleged capture of the judiciary by Zanu PF.
Mnangagwa named a 27-member cabinet with only five ministers coming from the Matabeleland region.
There is one minister from Bulawayo, while Matabeleland North and South have two each.
Nkayi Community Parliament speaker Nhlanhla Ncube said Matabeleland will not benefit from the new cabinet.
“It is a family affair. It shows that Mnangagwa is lining up a family member to succeed him one way or the other,” Ncube said.
“Those from Matabeleland are mere place holders. In actual fact, Mthuli Ncube is now deputised by Mnangagwa’s son.
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“It is not surprising to see the old names. They are just a cover up. Family members are an original sin of Zanu PF politics.
“It is about family, ethnicity and tribe. Mnangagwa is following the late Robert Mugabe hymn book, word for word.”
Ncube said Mnangagwa’s cabinet including the presidium does not show any sign of reform or appreciation of required development and economic revival needs.
“Zanu PF methodology remains the same, unfortunately,” he said, adding that the only way to arrest was to vote Zanu PF and any like-minded organisations out.
Ibhetshu likaZulu coordinator Mbuso Fuzwayo said he does not foresee Matabeleland benefiting from the new cabinet.
“Policies of taking the resources of Matabeleland using outsiders is still intact,” Fuzwayo said.
“Nepotism is now a cancer that Zimbabweans across political divide must unite against. We can not have one family occupying positions of influence as if we have no man power?
“The cabinet is old, with people who if we were a serious country were supposed to be barred from occupying public office, among such is Barbra Rwodzi.”
Rwodzi, who was appointed tourism and hospitality industry minister, was recorded while threatening a police officer for arresting a Zanu PF activist who was caught tearing CCC posters.
However, Rural Community Empowerment Trust Matabeleland North coordinator Vumani Ndlovu argued that there was a fair representation for Matabeleland region, especially given the fact that Zanu PF did not fare well in the region.
“Key posts such as finance, industry and commerce, and energy were allocated to ministers from the region. That must be appreciated,” Ndlovu said.
“However, the question remains on whether the political environment will be conducive for them to deliver.
“Outside that the cabinet appointment was/is a recycle of the deadwood, it does not inspire confidence.”
He said although the region expected more new ministers the level of nepotism reflected in the cabinet appointment was unbelievable.
“Having the Mutsvangwas and Mnangagwa, appointing his son and relatives must be condemned in the strongest terms possible,”Ndlovu said.
Zapu spokesperson Mso Ndlovu said: “We see a lot of recycled faces who clearly have nothing to offer except enjoying government perks for personal gain.”
“It is unfortunate that those tasked with leading see it as an opportunity to ‘eat’ instead of an opportunity to serve.
“Deployment should be based on meritocracy and nothing else. Every Zimbabwean with capacity and qualifications should have an equal shot at serving their people.
Political analyst Effie Ncube said people should expect the same from the Mnangagwa government.
“There are no reformists at all. The fate of the rule of law, human rights, democracy and the economy will remain the same or get worse,” he said.
“Government should avoid nepotism or the appearance of it at all costs.
“The appointment of the two Mnangagwa’s is in bad political taste but in keeping with how Mugabe saw the government.
“It sends a very bad message about the conflation of family and state.”
South Africa based educationist, Nkosilathi Ncube said in Matabeleland North and South,
Mnangagwa tried his best as there were a number of ministers and deputies drawn from there.
“I don't think it's wise for him to appoint his children, relatives and nephews,” he said.
“People like Tongai and Kuda David Mnangagwa’s will taint his somehow fair distribution of ministries country wide.”
Ncube said Mnangagwa should quickly implement the changes in the constitution on devolution, Gukurahundi, attend to the road networks in Matabeleland and might emerge a unifier.