HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa has continued on his path to surround himself with kith and kin following announcing Tuesday the elevation of Martin Rushwaya to the position of Chief Secretary to Office of President and Cabinet (OPC).
Martin Rushwaya who is a brother to controversial gold smuggler Henrietta is reportedly the president’s relative and was serving as deputy chief secretary responsible for finance and administration, before his latest promotion.
The fresh development comes in the wake of the retirement of long-serving OPC Chief Secretary, Misheck Sibanda, who also worked in the same capacity under late former president Robert Mugabe.
Rushwaya has previously served government in various capacities, including as Midlands provincial administrator and Defence and War Veterans secretary from 2013 and was retained by Mnangagwa in September 2018, before reassignment in 2019.
He was co-chairman of the Zimbabwe-Mozambique Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security (JPCDS).
Rushwaya, who turns 62 on December 31, was Sibanda’s deputy and previously served as secretary for defence.
The appointment is set to be followed by further announcements of key changes in the bureaucracy with Prince Machaya also set to retire as attorney general, as well as filling the vacant position of prosecutor general.
ZimLive understands that Mnangagwa is leaning on appointing current justice secretary Virginia Mabiza to deputise Rushwaya, although she favours the prosecutor general role.
Sibanda was forced to retire under new rules requiring civil servants appointed on pensionable terms after May 1, 1992, to retire at 60. The Public Service Commission however said those employed before 1992, which includes Sibanda and Rushwaya, could only go up to 65.
Rushwaya’s appointment will rile Mnangagwa’s rivals who accuse the 81-year-old leader of stuffing his cabinet and the bureaucracy with relatives. Rushwaya, like Sibanda, is related to Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa’s cabinet announced earlier this month includes his son and nephew.