Mnangagwa urged to reshuffle Cabinet or risk ‘bhora musango’

Emmerson Mnangagwa

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa must wield the axe and reshuffle his Cabinet now, a failure he could find himself facing internal revolt and sabotage ahead of the upcoming elections.

The alarm bell was raised by Norton legislator Temba Mliswa (INDEPENDENT) who is among the scores of legislators complaining that the current crop of Cabinet Ministers is playing truancy in Parliament where MPs need to have their questions addressed by line Ministers.

Mliswa said if the rest of the Cabinet had the same work ethic as President Mnangagwa and Vice President Chiwenga, Government would have achieved more by now. Unless some Ministers were dropped forthwith, there was doom ahead for the President and the economy, Mliswa warned.

“How do you achieve middle income status with such work ethic? The Ministers are focused on personal deals and not the country. (Former President Robert) Mugabe had Ministers and institutions that worked for him.

“He was politically corrupt and worried more about power. However he was not into deals and corruption. However some level of culpability on the failure of the Ministers should be on the President as he should reshuffle and remove some of them. The longer he leaves them in their positions the harder it is to remove them,” Mliswa warned.

The former Zanu-PF chairperson for Mashonaland West added that culling non-performing Ministers now was strategic as elections were still far away. Mliswa said it would be a huge blunder for the President to make drastic changes to his team too close to an election as the spectre of “bhora musango” remained live in the ruling party.

In 2008, some Zanu PF heavyweights apparently unhappy with Mugabe’s refusal to relinquish power initiated a clandestine Operation Bhora Musango, in which they would urge Zanu PF supporters to vote a ruling party candidate for Parliament and local ward council, but vote anyone of their choice for State President.

Mliswa reckons that the tension and intra party squabbles in Zanu PF have created a conducive environment for another such sabotage as the 2008 bhora musango.

This is the second time inside this week that Mliswa has warned about the lackadaisical approach to Government business by the Ministers.

Speaking during this week’s National Assembly Question and Answer session on Wednesday, Mliswa called for adjournment of the session as only four Cabinet Ministers showed up. The rest were nowhere to be seen.

“We are 10 minutes into the Q and A session, but cabinet ministers are not here. The leader of government business is not here. Can we adjourn and get the ministers here? This is beyond the Chief whip’s (Zanu PF; Pupurai Togarepi) jurisdiction.

“We cannot hide this anymore. Mudhara (President Emmerson Mnangagwa) ari kuparara nazvo izviHazvichaita (The President is losing ground due to this behavior by his ministers),” Mliswa said.

As if that was not enough, the next day also saw the same four Ministers in the Senate Question and Answer session with the rest absent. Opposition MDC-T Senator Morgen Komichi demanded seriousness on the part of the truant Mimisters saying their continued absence from Parliament business was negatively affecting Government.

““This is quite pathetic and very unfortunate for the people of Zimbabwe. This is one of the serious abuses which the senate can endure. A few days ago, they could just absent themselves without giving any reason,” Komichi said in Senate.

“After the Senate had made a vehement complaint against their behaviour, they have now found a solution and the solution is to simply send an apology. Can these ministers give apologies on Tuesday when there is cabinet, the answer is no because it is planned from the schedule of the year that every Tuesday they go to cabinet.

“This means a lot as far as the value and importance of Senate is concerned. This means a lot when we look at ourselves and say why are we here, what are we doing yet the people outside there, the taxpayers and ordinary people expect us to oversee Government activities but here today we have only four ministers. This is quite unfortunate and we have complained for a long time about this behaviour.”

Meanwhile, Mliswa says Zanu PF will do well to re-admit those officials removed from the party as Gamatox betweem 2013 to 2014, saying “they were actually the mainstream party” who can organize effectively ahead of the 2023 elections.

The term Gamatox referred to perceived supporters of former Vice President Joice Mujuru who were chucked out of the party in early 2014 as the battle to succeed Mugabe gathered momentum. Mliswa was among those expelled, alongside Mujuru.

In total, Mugabe dismissed Mujuru and 16 ministers and deputy ministers who included Nicholas Goche, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Olivia Muchena and Dzikamai Mavhaire, Didymus Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo and Webster Shamu.