Has Mugabe floored Mnangagwa?

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe today announced the first post-Government of National Unity cabinet in which he seemed to have dealt a body blow to Presidential aspirant, Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ambitions.

Simon Khaya Moyo
Simon Khaya Moyo

Mnangagwa has since independence served mostly in the security cluster but has now been relegated to the less powerful Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs portfolio from Defence now in the hands of Sidney Sekeramayi.

Popularly known as the “Crocodile” in political circles, Mnangagwa, insiders were quick to point out, could still land the State Security Ministry and this was cemented by Mugabe’s failure to name a minister responsible for the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation for the first time since majority rule 33 years ago.

However, the former guerrilla leader, in a move that has sent shockwaves in media circles brought back from the cold political turn-coat Jonathan Moyo to the fold as the Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister.

Moyo wasted no time telling bemused journalists there would be no media reforms.

“When one is given an assignment, you feel like hitting the ground running,” a visibly elated Moyo quipped.

When asked if he would look at reforming the notorious Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, one of the most hated media laws, Moyo did not mince his words.

“You do not reform something that is not deformed,” he said.

Moyo will be deputised by former ZBC journalist and ZiFM propriator Supa Mandiwanzira

Party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo has been appointed Senior Minister in the President’s Office. There was no announcement of a second deputy president.

Reports have indicated Mugabe now wants to turn the party’s annual conference set for December into a mini-congress and get Moyo into the presidium.

As usual Mnangagwa was slippery coming out and getting past the hordes of journalists without a word.

By contrast Mnangagwa’s arch-foe deputy President Joice Mujuru appeared hip-swaying.

In an indication that could point to a shift in policy, Mugabe moved the acerbic Saviour Kasukuwere to an obscure ministry of Water. Obert Mpofu and Webster Shamu lost out with Mpofu being moved from the influential Mines ministry that presided over the country’s diamonds while Shamu has been thrown into a ministry that includes ICTs.

The wily old fox could have outsmarted all factions battling to succeed him amid reports the 89 year-old leader will seek a fresh mandate to lead Zanu PF in December.

The only causality from Mugabe’s previous cabinet is Herbert Murerwa whose lands ministry was given to Douglas Mombeshora while the Finance ministry has been given to Patrick Chinamasa.

Chinamasa was Mnangawa’s preferred candidate for the party chairmanship post in the botched 2004 palace coup allegedly engineered by Jonathan Moyo. Another returnee is Dzikamayi Mavhaire famed for the “Mugabe must go” rant in the late 90s. He has been awarded with the Energy and Power Development portfolio.

Mugabe also circumvented the new constitution that dealt away with provincial governors by appointing Ministers responsible for Provincial Affairs including the metropolitan provinces of Harare and Bulawayo.

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