Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced his 20-member cabinet which includes military men who were in his previous cabinet and technocrats, at the State House in Harare. Mnangagwa downsized – as promised and in light of budgetary restraints – from the previous 23, and merged some portfolios.
Besides the military figures and a few technocrats, Mnangagwa’s cabinet is made up of Zanu-PF hardliners, some of whom were at the forefront of rebelling against the autocratic leader, former president Robert Mugabe. The technocrats who made it into cabinet are *Professor Mthuli Ncube* (finance and economic development), former Olympic champion *Kirsty Coventry* (youth, sport, arts and recreation), *Obadiah Moyo* (health and child care) and *Winston Chitando* (mines and mining development).
Ncube is an economist and vice-president of the African Development Bank. Chitando retained the mines and mining development portfolio. A new face, Moyo takes over from David Parirenyatwa, who was part of Mugabe’s cabinet for a long time.Other new faces are *Sekai Nzenza*, who was handed the public service, labour and social welfare portfolio, as well as *Mangaliso Ndlovu*, who got the industry and commerce ministry.
Zanu-PF national chairperson *Oppah Muchinguri* got the defence and war veterans ministry, coming from environment, climate and water, which has been reconfigured. *July Moyo* bounced back at the local government, public works and national housing ministry, as well as *Sibusiso Moyo* at foreign affairs and international trade. *Amon Murwira* got back at the higher and tertiary education, science and technology development ministry, *Paul Mavhima* bounced back at the primary and secondary education portfolio, as well as *Perrance Shiri* at the lands, agriculture, water, culture and rural resettlement ministry.
*Joram Gumbo* was moved from the transport and infrastructure development portfolio to energy and power development, and was replaced by *Joel Biggie Matiza*, a Zanu-PF Mashonaland East godfather. *Monica Mutsvangwa* was moved to the information, publicity and broadcasting services ministry, from the Manicaland Provincial Affairs portfolio, while *Kazembe Kazembe* was moved from the sports ministry to information communication technology and courier services.
At the environment, tourism and hospitality industry ministry, *Prisca Mupfumira* bounced back, just as *Ziyambi Ziyambi* did so at the justice, legal and parliamentary affairs portfolio. *Sithembiso Nyoni* was also retained in the women affairs, community, small and medium enterprises ministry. *Cain Mathema* was appointed home affairs and cultural heritage minister, taking over from Obert Mpofu.
From the 20 appointed ministers, only Nyoni, Gumbo, Mathema and Muchinguri were retained from Mugabe’s long-time cabinet which presided over the malaise in the country. Responding to questions why he appointed people like Coventry who had never walked in the corridors of politics, Mnangagwa said no one was born in those corridors. At his inauguration, Mnangagwa assured Zimbabweans that his government would create a favourable environment for investors in line with his “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra.
As far as we can see, not a bad start and another step into re-assuring difference and commitment to rebuilding Zimbabwe!