Ruth Weiss' Column about Zimbabwe (40)



At last: President Robert Mugabe took his time after his stupendous election on July 31, before announcing his new cabinet on September 10th.

Though the cabinet was reduced from 33 to 26, the entire group of 63 ministers, deputy ministers, ministers of state for the provinces, is considered top-heavy and too costly, in view of the country's economic problems. The team line-up of hardliners and old guard is disappointing, despite a sprinkling of new faces among the deputy ministers such as Supa Mandiwanzira as Deputy Information minister and Paul Chimedza, Deputy Health Minister.

Emmerson Mnanagwa, who led the election team to the July victory, is Justice Minister - a demotion of sorts from his job as Defence Minister, which has been handed to Sydney Sekeranayi, whose Ministry of Social Security is defunct. Mugabe subsequently said that he is responsible for the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) together with Mugabe loyalist Didymus Mutasa, the Presidential Affairs Minister. Another hardliner, Patrick Chinamasa, replaces Tendai Biti as Finance Minister, while Jonathan Moyo is brought out of the wilderness as Information Minister, claiming he wished to heal the rift with the media. Joseph Made, who had presided over the collapse of agriculture, has been given the Agricultural Ministry. Ignatios Chombo, who forced local authorities to write off millions in debt ahead of election, is retained as Local Government Minister, which augurs badly for service deliveries. Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) chair Denford Chirindo had confirmed that several corruption complaints had been lodged against the minister.

Two controversial ministers were demoted. Saviour Kusukawere, who pushed indigenisation, is now Environment Minister, with Francis Nhema his successor. Obert Mpofu, who cleverly organised the state takeover of diamond mines, moved to Transport from Mining, which is now in the hands of Walter Chidakwa. The two key economic ministries are thus manned by newcomers, considered to be mild moderates of sorts.(1)

According to leaked documents, the President spent US$2m on his lavish inauguration.(2)


Comments came at once, fast and furious.

"Zanu PF is battening down the hatches and consolidating its indigenisation programme," according to Zimbabwe political analyst Brian Raftopoulos, who said the results of the July 31 elections were "very depressing." Political analyst Philip Pasirayi called the cabinet "jobs for the boys" rather than a team appointed on merit. Shakespear Hamauswa felt Zanu-PF was now in charge, with the cabinet merely due to rubber-stamp Politburo decisions. . "Cabinet of recycled dead wood" recurred in several articles, as analysts pondered whether the team could generate the new ideas and vigorous policies o solve the country's enormous problems. The new cabinet looks indeed like the mixture as before.

That is perhaps the President's idea.

Mugabe had to create a balance between the three factions: those that support only him, the moderates who support Mujuru and the hardliners behind Mnangagwa.

By re-appointing old and trusted men as well as young Turks, he may have signaled that he wanted Zanu-PF and the future governments to carry on the old policies, whereas the newcomers were to be the way into the future. Some commentators feel this is his swan song and a pointer to his retirement before the end of his term.(3)

The demotion of Mnangagwa has given Mujuru an edge to allow her to inch her way towards the presidency. No second vice-president has been appointed, which may mean one will be elected at Zanu-PF's December conference. According to some experts, the annual conference could become an Extraordinary Congress to discuss the thorny succession issue.(4)

Criticism of the men at the helm of the ministries of indigenisation and mining was seen by some as Mugabe's softening on indigenisation, despite the renewed rhetoric of roaring full steam ahead. The President brushed criticism aside, saying Kusukawere was an extrovert, Nhema an introvert and if the introvert didn't deliver, he would be put aside. He also stated the criteria on which he had made his selection, firstly on how long the person had been with Zanu-PF and how deeply committed he/she was to the party, then on qualifications and thirdly on consideration of balancing the provinces, by ensuring three appointments per province. No offer had been made to MDC, as it still rejected the election outcome.

He charged the new cabinet with the job of completing the jobs still undone. The emphasis would be on creating agricultural, industrial, mining production. With a recovery in tobacco, there had been calls to revive the entire agricultural industry and end the perennial food imports.

The Zim. Stock Exchange reacted positively to the new cabinet, no doubt boyed up by a perceived softening of indigenisation.

Commentators thought that Finance Minister Chinamasa would turn to China for help to re-start the economy, in view of western countries likely to retain sanctions on Mugabe. Questions remain, such as that concerning the IMF staff-monitored programme to accelerate growth, introduced by the previous Finance Minister Tendai Biti.


The Zimbabwean has published damning documents of Zanu-PF election campaign, which show that China played a major role in advising the party and rigging the July 31 elections.(5)

The future for the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) looks bleak. Professor Reginald Austin had resigned, citing lack of everything, beginning with funding. His successor Jacob Mudende, now the Speaker of the House, did nothing in the way of following up on the issues raised by Austin or organizing a secretariat. As most of the human rights violators are members of Zanu-PF the ZHRC looks doomed to inactivity.(6)

In the wake of the elections, Zanu-PF has embarked on parceling out land illegally in Harare to its housing estates which had been formed as part of the party's campaign to oust MDC from urban areas.(7)

A 70 family community settled on a farm in Chemahora district in the Midlands were forcibly evicted by police, although they voted Zanu-PF.(8)


Morgan Tsvangirai plans to address a Mutare rally on Saturday September 14th to tell his supporters how the election was stolen.(9)

MDC-T grassroots are in favour of an overhaul of its structures to ensure ridding the party of "bad apples".(10) Both Morgan Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti have accused Tanzanian Foreign Minister Bernard Membe of misrepresenting SADC's final report, claiming the four-page report presented by Membe was a summary, with SADCC's final observer report still outstanding.(11)

MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett advocated that Tsvangirai should relinquish the leadership.(12)

Zimbabweans fleeing retribution for voting against Zanu-PF are increasingly refused refugee status in South Africa. It is feared that South Africa has changed its policy, following President Jacob Zuma's acceptance of President Mugabe's election victory. Various cases of retribution were reported in the Midland by MDC-T's provincial chair, with families previously settled by Zanu-PF evicted after the elections, as well as youths in Gokwe working as goldpanner evicted by Zanu-PF leaders.(13)


Nugget Gold Mine in Matibi District, Matabeleland, has been shut down by police following a dispute over ownership between a businessmen's syndicate and a group of youths.(14)

ZIMBABWE has missed a June deadline to ensure the flow of diamond revenue from Marange into the state coffers, as part of reforms under a supervised International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme. It is feared that other targets will also fail to be met. The IMF has not yet reacted, but the World Bank has said that the 214 outlook for Zimbabwe is still uncertain.(15)

According to the WEF Global Competitiveness Report 2013 - 2014, the perception of public institutions related to corruption, security, and government favouritism continues to be poor, despite some improvement in recent years.(16)

A September 14th march by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) was banned by the police.(17)

Some 137 exhibitors are expected at the Tourist exhibition in Harare in October. Tourism is a growth sector, with 4% growth annually predicted. The outgoing Tourism Minister warned investors that they had to comply with indigenization laws.(18) The US is planning the destruction of ivory in a bid to curb poaching.(19)

The Grain Marketing Board has been ordered to distribute 10 000 tons of maize to five provinces suffering from food shortages.(20)

The dire water supply situation poses a health hazard, with patients forced to bring their own water to hospitals.(21)

  1. Telegraph, UK 10.9, Daily News 9.9, 10.9, The Zimbabwean 10.9
  2. Sunday Times UK 8.9
  3. Financial Gazette 12.9
  4. Zim.Independent 7.9
  5. The Zimbabwean 11.9
  6. The Zimbabwean 11.9
  7. Newsday 9.9
  8. SW Radio Africa 9.9
  9. Daily News 8.9
  10. Financial Gazette 7.9
  11. The Zimbabwean 7.9
  12. African News | BDlive 11.9
  13. SW Radio Africa 7.9
  14. Nehanda Radio 7.9
  15. Zim.Situation 8.9, SW Radio Africa 9.9
  16. Daily News 8.9
  17. The Guardian 10.9
  18. Daily News 8.9, 9.9
  19. Guardian 10.9
  20. Sunday Mail Zim. 8.9
  21. Zim. Situation 8.9

Letzte Änderung: Saturday, 05-Oct-2013 21:56:23 CEST