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A glaring lack of meritocracy



PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is heading for monumental failure in steering the country out of the grinding economic and political crises, political analysts have warned.


Mnangagwa, who staged a smash-and-grab electoral victory in the 23 and 24 August elections that were largely condemned by the regional bloc Sadc, as well as other international observers, went on to appoint a cabinet populated by inexperienced officials in key sectors such as economy, energy, mines, local government, industry and commerce.

The ministry of Finance and Investment Promotion was retained by Professor Mthuli Ncube, who has plunged the country into an economic abyss with the highest inflation rate in the world and a moribund local currency.

 Deputising Ncube is Mnangagwa’s son, Kudakwashe David Mnangagwa, who has no known qualifications or track record in economics beyond a tourism degree he earned barely a year ago from Lupane State University.

The tourism and hospitality ministry, which was split from the tourism and environment portfolio, was assigned to a woman, Barbra Rwodzi, who has no international profile. Rwodzi is from Mnangagwa’s Midlands province.

 She is known for instigating violence at the Pan-African Parliament during a heated debate and back home for threatening a police officer in her constituency who had arrested a thug linked to her election campaign.

Rwodzi will be deputised by a son of Mnangagwa’s sister/brother, Tongai Mnangagwa, with no known record as a captain of the tourism and hospitality sector.

Tasked with running the Local Government ministry is former chief executive of Zvishavane-based platinum mining company Mimosa, Winston Chitando, who was the Mines minister in the last cabinet.

He again does not hold solid experience in local government administration. What further disillusioned many is that individuals tasked with leading key line ministries were drawn from the list of the President’s family members, friends, clansmen, relatives and hangers-on.

What has further aggravated the disillusionment is that ministers from the previous cabinet whose performance was below par were either reshuffled or retained in their portfolios.

These include Sports minister Kirsty Coventry, who presided over the blacklisting of the country from international football, Finance minister Ncube and former Energy minister Soda Zhemu, who presided over 18-hour rolling power cuts which have since returned after a moratorium which was calculated at hoodwinking the people ahead of the just-ended elections.

Political analyst Professor Stephen Chan from the University of London said the recycling of dead wood and underperforming ministers who failed dismally was a clear sign that the government will not deliver.

“This cabinet is a collection of retreads, people who have failed before and those who are too young to have failed are there by virtue of being related by family ties to the President. It’s a cabinet of cronies and nepotism. The reappointment of the minister of Finance sums it up. It was he who failed over the past five years,” Chan said.

Political analyst Vivid Gwede concurred, saying: “The President has recycled the majority of ministers from the last five years. Some of them have clearly not been performing, which means Zimbabwe is likely to continue with mediocre performance. There is no clarity on what basis they have been retained, except that they are loyalists.”

 He added: “The question is: what will the President do this time around to make them produce the results?” Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe spokesperson Obert Masaraure said it is a cabinet of “certified” failures and “so it will not deliver”.

“This is a Cabinet of certified failures and unqualified green horns and they will not produce anything short of a disaster. ED’s (Mnangagwa) cabinet is not for the people but for himself and his close circle to achieve their selfish targets of power retention and primitive accumulation,” said Masaraure.

 “The change of personalities without the rewiring of the governance architecture will not change the outcome. Mnangagwa is still pursuing failed neoliberal policies and the outcome is predictable, the economy will continue to falter and social services will remain inaccessible.” He added: “The illegitimate Mnangagwa will continue to deploy the apparatus of violence to coerce the people. It is going to be a long five years for the people of Zimbabwe.”

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