‘Ministries created to embarrass appointees’

Scholaships Minister Christopher Mushohwe

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s creation of obscure ministries is a political scandal meant to manage power dynamics within his ruling Zanu PF party, analysts contend.

This month, the president created among others the ministry of Cyber Security and Threat Detection which has been a talking point in the corridors of power.

Over the years, government has painfully tried to defend such ministries which analysts believe are meant to embarrass those seconded to them.

Social analyst Rashweat Mukundu is of the opinion that the ministries are intended to bring everyone in the ruling Zanu PF party to the feeding trough.

“The ministries are not beneficial to Zimbabwe and are part of the patronage system that have drained resources against real public pressing demands. The ministries are a demonstration that the leadership is far concerned with power than governing.

“The sad part is that those chosen to lead these ministries are more than willing to comply because without patronage they can’t afford to feed their families.

“Instead of honourably declining they would rather hang on for the cars, allowances and corruption,” Mukundu said.

Recently, in a shock Cabinet reshuffle Mugabe introduced the ministry of Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation, which is currently held by Patrick Chinamasa.

He further appointed Chris Mushohwe minister of State in the President’s Office for National Scholarships.

In 2013 the president introduced the ministry of State for Liaising on Psychomotor Activities in Education, which is being held by Josiah Hungwe.

Another political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said these ministries are unnecessary in a small country like Zimbabwe.

“We don’t need more than 16 ministries. We are such a tiny country and economy and we efficiently and efficaciously do with 16 ministries and no deputies.

“We can also do with just one president and no deputies. With a small country like ours one senior minister can be an acting president in the latter’s absence,” Saungweme said.

He told the Daily News on Sunday that these appointments are a political scandal, which Mugabe uses as a balancing act.

“What we have in Zimbabwe is a political charade. Our politics are so toxic that Mugabe has to strike ethnicity, tribal, and factional balances in his appointments. So we don’t need all those ministries.

“Imagine other countries like Tanzania with bigger Gross Domestic Product but they have a limited number of ministries and one minister for example is a minister of Gender, Youth, Elderly and Community Development. In Zimbabwe these will be four ministries,” he said.

Other ministries that have been previously created before being dropped include Chenhamo “Chen” Chimutengwende’s ministry of State for Public and Interactive Affairs,  ministry of Rural Housing and Social Amenities, which was held by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, ministry of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage, which was held by Abednico Ncube.

Ncube’s ministry has since been incorporated back to the Sports ministry, which boggles the mind why it was created in the first place.

Shakespeare Hamauswa another political analyst said even though the functions that some of these ministers have to perform are necessary, it does not warrant the creation of several stand-alone ministries.

“The ideal situation would be making the existing ministries such as education ministries adaptive to the changing environment.

“For instance State security ministries can respond to cyber security threats without the need to create a ministry.

“For Mugabe, the creation of these ministries was basically focused on managing power dynamics. They will not in any case enhance development,” Hamauswa said.

Over the years, Mugabe has also created portfolios for resident ministers, ministers without portfolios and ministers of State in the vice president’s office, whose duties are not clearly defined, making them unnecessary. – Daily News