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Mugabe is the missing link

Mugabe is the missing link

President Mugabe in a file photo

By
Published: 13 September 2015

ZIMBABWE – President Robert Mugabe’s thoughtless Cabinet reshuffle on Friday proved beyond any doubt that he is the biggest missing link in efforts to rescue Zimbabwe from years of economic ruin.

President Robert Mugabe’s thoughtless Cabinet reshuffle on Friday proved beyond any doubt that he is the biggest missing link in efforts to rescue Zimbabwe from years of economic ruin.

Mugabe swore in 14 ministers who were a mixture of deadwood and raw Zanu PF activists without any track record to talk about.

The appointments came the same week the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revealed that the government had given it assurances that it would cut the size of the civil service in line with declining revenues.

In July, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa had also announced that the government was in the process of cutting its wage bill from the unsustainable 83% share of Treasury’s expenditure to about 40%.

There is already evidence on the ground that the measures laid out by Chinamasa are being carried out with the physical audit of the civil servants that is underway.

The impending massive cull of civil servants would come hard on the heels of a carnage in the private sector and some parastatals that was triggered by a July Supreme Court ruling.

According to estimates, 20 000 workers lost their jobs after companies took advantage of the Supreme Court ruling to get rid of redundant staff before the government amended the Labour Act.

Before Friday’s surprise appointments, the country had gone for several months without deputy ministers in several portfolios after the purge early this year of members of Cabinet suspected to be supporters of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

It was business as usual as the absence of the deputy ministers hardly disrupted government business since the posts were largely ceremonial and the expectation was that Mugabe had become wiser in as far as the need for a leaner Cabinet was concerned.

However, to everyone’s shock, the Zanu PF leader not only appointed the deputy ministers, but also created three new portfolios for his cronies.

He appointed Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo the new minister for Policy Coordination and Promotion of Socio-Economic Ventures in the President’s Office.

Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs minister Abednigo Ncube was given the newly-created portfolio of Rural Development and Preservation of National Heritage, while Makhosini Hlongwane was appointed Minister Without Portfolio.

In another interesting appointment, Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwawo, took over as minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment in place of Christopher Mushohwe, who assumed the Information portfolio.

Mugabe has inexplicably created four additional portfolios since he first unveiled the post 2013 elections Cabinet after he made Christopher Mutsvangwa War Veterans minister.

The appointments show that the Zanu PF leader is not really interested in stopping the economic collapse ,but is preoccupied with preserving his rule in the face of internal and external threats to his throne.

This year alone, Mugabe has tweaked his Cabinet thrice to deal with the aftermath of the purge of Mujuru allies and the changes to his team have never been meant to improve the performance of his administration.

The latest reshuffle runs at cross purposes with the new thrust by the government to adjust to new economic realities by cutting down on wasteful expenditure.

Mugabe has to provide new cars, perks and other trinkets that come with offices of Cabinet ministers and their deputies to the newly-appointed group at an immense cost to the tax payer.

The appointments make a mockery of the commitment the country has made to the IMF, which is trying hard to rehabilitate Zimbabwe after it had been shunned for years by international lenders for its crooked policies.

Mugabe on Friday pulled another stunt to ensure that all that work would go to waste.

Mugabe swore in 14 ministers who were a mixture of deadwood and raw Zanu PF activists without any track record to talk about.

The appointments came the same week the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revealed that the government had given it assurances that it would cut the size of the civil service in line with declining revenues.

In July, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa had also announced that the government was in the process of cutting its wage bill from the unsustainable 83% share of Treasury’s expenditure to about 40%.

There is already evidence on the ground that the measures laid out by Chinamasa are being carried out with the physical audit of the civil servants that is underway.

The impending massive cull of civil servants would come hard on the heels of a carnage in the private sector and some parastatals that was triggered by a July Supreme Court ruling.

According to estimates, 20 000 workers lost their jobs after companies took advantage of the Supreme Court ruling to get rid of redundant staff before the government amended the Labour Act.

Before Friday’s surprise appointments, the country had gone for several months without deputy ministers in several portfolios after the purge early this year of members of Cabinet suspected to be supporters of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

It was business as usual as the absence of the deputy ministers hardly disrupted government business since the posts were largely ceremonial and the expectation was that Mugabe had become wiser in as far as the need for a leaner Cabinet was concerned.

However, to everyone’s shock, the Zanu PF leader not only appointed the deputy ministers, but also created three new portfolios for his cronies.

He appointed Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo the new minister for Policy Coordination and Promotion of Socio-Economic Ventures in the President’s Office.

Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs minister Abednigo Ncube was given the newly-created portfolio of Rural Development and Preservation of National Heritage, while Makhosini Hlongwane was appointed Minister Without Portfolio.

In another interesting appointment, Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwawo, took over as minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment in place of Christopher Mushohwe, who assumed the Information portfolio.

Mugabe has inexplicably created four additional portfolios since he first unveiled the post 2013 elections Cabinet after he made Christopher Mutsvangwa War Veterans minister.

The appointments show that the Zanu PF leader is not really interested in stopping the economic collapse ,but is preoccupied with preserving his rule in the face of internal and external threats to his throne.

This year alone, Mugabe has tweaked his Cabinet thrice to deal with the aftermath of the purge of Mujuru allies and the changes to his team have never been meant to improve the performance of his administration.

The latest reshuffle runs at cross purposes with the new thrust by the government to adjust to new economic realities by cutting down on wasteful expenditure.

Mugabe has to provide new cars, perks and other trinkets that come with offices of Cabinet ministers and their deputies to the newly-appointed group at an immense cost to the tax payer.

The appointments make a mockery of the commitment the country has made to the IMF, which is trying hard to rehabilitate Zimbabwe after it had been shunned for years by international lenders for its crooked policies.

Mugabe on Friday pulled another stunt to ensure that all that work would go to waste.