Shava was plucked from his posting as United Nations (UN) ambassador by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday and put in charge of the daunting portfolio following the death of Sibusiso Moyo from Covid-19 last month.
Mnangagwa made a handful other changes to his cabinet.
Critics objected to Shava’s new posting, raising his fraudulent history after being implicated in the Willowgate graft scandal in 1988 where he and other cabinet ministers were accused of buying cars and reselling them at overblown prices, raking in enormous profits and lining their pockets.
He was found guilty of lying under oath about the “feeding frenzy” and sentenced to nine months in jail but was saved by President Robert Mugabe with a pardon.
Still, former tourism minister Mzembi congratulated Shava on Twitter saying he possessed the requisite acumen and credentials for his new assignment.
“This is an appropriate appointment, he is an experienced diplomat with multilateral UN station and Sino geopolitical experience,” Mzembi gushed.
“Cabinet is not new to him, and he should hit the ground running. Congratulations to ambassador Shava.”
The former UN ambassador also earned praise from Kasukuwere who called him “a balanced and experienced diplomat.”
“He has the appropriate credentials to go with his new assignment and a matured approach to issues. All the best Dr. Shava, all eyes on you,” Kasukuwere tweeted.
But another G40 principal Professor Jonathan Moyo, who skipped the country and sought refuge in Kenya in the middle of the 2017 military coup, had a different take.
The political scientist viewed the appointment as a tribal-driven gambit by Mnangagwa to consolidate power while isolating his deputy Constantino Chiwenga and the military, which has a huge stake in the governance of the country.
“With this appointment and that of Felix Mhona as transport minister, General Chiwenga is now the only coup soldier remaining in Cabinet, which is now full of Mnangagwa homies!” Moyo observed.
Echoing a sea of critics, political analyst Dr. Pedzisai Ruhanya took issue with Mzembi and Kasukuwere for extolling a “fraudulent character.”
“Including his fraudulent history in the Willowgate scandal and the famous Justice Sandura Commission. Let’s not celebrate fraudulent characters convicted by the courts of law. We need a government of laws, not fraudsters,” critiqued Ruhanya.
But Kasukuwere defended Shava saying he was a rehabilitated cadre with a better ‘moral’ standing compared to some current cabinet ministers.
“No chief. Knowing what I know about the cabinet, he is better! He was punished and pardoned. He spent quite a long time as a backbencher and I will not judge him harshly seeing that he did show remorse and exercised extreme discipline over the years. He made a mistake and acknowledged his failings,” Kasukuwere added.