HARARE – Smarting from his failure to wrestle power from Zanu PF, the main opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has poured cold water on rave views on Mnangagwa’s government cabinet appointments saying he is the legitimate winners of 2018 elections and new appointments will not make the difference.
Mnangagwa Friday announced a 20-member cabinet in which he co-opted top academic and banker Mthuli Ncube to finance while Olympics multi-gold medallist Kirsty Coventry was given sports.
Top Zanu PF politicians Obert Mpofu and Patrick Chinamasa were among high profile figures who failed to make it to cabinet this time.
Mnangagwa however kept Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Sithembiso Nyoni, Monica Mutsvangwa, Prisca Mupfumira and Joram Gumbo among some old faces that have constituted past governments.
In a statement issued by his spokesman Nkululeko Sibanda, Chamisa said; “Zimbabwe is naturally endowed with beauty and brains. The Declared-President Mnangagwa cannot put lipstick on a pig and then declare it Miss Zimbabwe.
“An illegitimate President cannot put two fresh apples in a rotten basket and hope to produce clean basket. One wonders if ‘new-dispensation’ means that you can cook in a dirty pot and hope that using two cups of clean water will produce clean food. This cabinet suffers a lot of previous co-morbidities and dirty baggage.
The appointed of a couple of notable names is just but a cheap attempt to give gravitas to a weak president. President Mnangagwa’s inauguration ignited a catastrophic economic decline, like no other just after an election. A government is as strong as its leader and as economically capable as it is legitimate.”
“Name bombing, by throwing into the basket Professor Ncube and Kirsty Coventry is an unsophisticated way of pampering a largely incontinent cabinet,” he said.
The statement said; “as Zimbabwe will already know President Mnangagwa has no respect for the constitution and the law but it is not anyone’s expectation that he would continue to subvert the law. His appointments are unconstitutional and against his stated objectives to implement devolution.”
“He has appointed ministers of state, who are unconstitutional in the first instance and a subversion of devolution. Provincial councils will have no role in circumstances where a province already has an executive minister. It is also a shame that the declared President has announced 43 ministers and deputies and lies that he appointed 20 ministers. Zimbabweans can see through the lie. Creating 20 ministries is not the same as appointing 20 ministers and this president knows that he is lying.”
He went on to say: “the appointment of a minister of local government is also a relic of an old habit that is unconstitutional. By creating local government and devolution the constitution intended to have people government their matters close to home. This ministry is no longer necessary and is intended to fight against devolution.”
“Notably this cabinet does not have sufficient representation of women, young people and war veterans, even by weak ZANU PF standards. We know that Zimbabweans know that any minister works as part of a cabinet.
This means that it does not matter who is appointed into a weak government, led by an illegitimate president. A government is as strong as its weakest link and a raped election produced a raped economy.”
“The President Advocate Nelson Chamisa did set out, during his campaign and in his smart policy programme, a gold standard that this country could follow in the appointment of ministers, reducing them to no more than 15. This would guide his work in government.
Owing it to the 2.6 million voters who delivered an electoral and numbers-based victory, Zimbabwe can expect that he is prepared to drive this economy forward. He has the right skills and the right teams to resuscitate this economy.”
Meanwhile, former Energy Minister and now opposition Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) leader, Elton Mangoma said Mnangagwa must proceed to rid government corridors of old permanent secretaries.
“This kind of reshuffle must be extended to the permanent secretaries in order for the incoming ministers to move in with new ideas,” he said.
“But the cabinet is definitely much better than I feared it could be.
“What is left is what philosophy they are going to use. Whether these people are allowed to have little room to manouvre, particularly to do with finance.
“The key issue that will drive the economy is how the currency issue is going to be dealt with, whether they will stop the printing of treasury bills and whether they will be able to live within a reasonable means and not continue to rely on treasury bills.”
Mangoma said after all the talk about the new cabinet, one critical matter the new office bearers should address as a matter of urgency was currency.
“If it’s not resolved by December, then the hyperinflation will come in and it will be very difficult to then deal with it afterwards.”
Linda Masarira, MDC-T spokesperson, said the new cabinet was a breath of fresh air but lacked gender balance.
“It is a breath of fresh air to see a young woman in the cabinet, young men in the cabinet,” she said.
“There was an effort for inclusion; it is a positive.
“We have been crying about the marginalisation of young people and women in governance issues.
“I am disappointed by the violation of Section 17 and 56 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe; he must have promoted gender balance.”
Masarira was however not blind to the silver lining within cabinet appointments.
“I am relatively impressed by the new cabinet.
“I think it should be given a chance to turn around the fortunes of our country…”
MDC Alliance information committee member Jacob Mafume described the new line-up as “old wine” and bloated with 43 ministers who will soon take delivery of 86 top of the range vehicles at the tax payer’s expense.
“The much touted minister of finance, though looking polished, has more of academic credentials than experience in public finance,” said Mafume.
“The crowd of ministers are the same people who led us into this mess in the first place. They have been there since independence. It’s a case of changing a room in the same haunted house.”
“The ghosts of failure will follow you to the other room. Zanu PF is rotating itself like a merry go round from hell.”
MDC spokesperson, Kuraoune Chihwayi said Mnangagwa should seek divine intervention if he was hoping to see miracles from his “village friends and land barons in his cabinet”.
“This is the worst Zanu PF cabinet that we have seen since 198O. We are seeing dead wood and Mnangagwa praise singers with a tainted history.”