Team cabinet

After 40 days of suspense, President Robert Mugabe finally announced a cabinet of 26 ministers. The highlight of the new cabinet is the transfer of Saviour Kasukuwere – around whom the scent of corruption allegations lingers – from Youth and Indiginisation to the Environment Ministry.

If Mugabe was not pleased with Kasukuwere’s performance in one ministry, shifting him elsewhere will not suddenly make Kasukuwere produce different results. The fact that Mugabe has picked a 54-year-old to run the youth ministry either reflects that the President has lost faith in the youth or Zanu (PF) is short of suitable leadership.

Speaking of corruption allegations, Ignatious Chombo, with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Authority hot on his heels, has retained the Local Government ministry. Chinhoyi residents will be aware of the dubious past of Minister of State for Mashonaland West, Faber Chidarikire, who as town mayor amassed several residential stands. Jonathan Moyo – remembered for alienating the country by his tactless Bush and Blair utterances and for torturing us with urban grooves “music”– returns to his old job as information minister, where he is assisted by Supa Mandiwanzira.

Money out of nothing

Simon Khaya Moyo’s appointment to Senior Minister might be a strong indication that he will succeed the late John Nkomo as the country’s second vice president, a position created to maintain harmony – if not to equally distribute the looting – in the Zanu and Zapu alliance.

Patrick Chinamasa has been given the impossible task of making money out of nothing, in the ministry of finance, whose key role is to fund government operations from thin air. Mugabe will miss the previous minister, Tendai Biti, who was often used as the scapegoat in the GNU era. For the first time, there is no Minister of State Security, a post previously held by Sydney Sekeramai, who now heads Defence. Mugabe stated that he and Didymus Mutasa (Minister of Presidential Affairs) will be in charge of state security. Perhaps this is merely a cost-cutting measure. Perhaps it is reflective of the lack of trust in his underlings.

The most curious ministerial appointment is that of former Masvingo governor, Josiah Hungwe, for whom a weird title has been created: Minister of State for Liaising on Psychomotor Activities in Education. Hungwe himself has attempted to explain his post by saying his role will be to synchronise primary, secondary and vocational training. We are but poor simple people. Big words like “psychomotor” and “synchronise” confuse us. All we know is that the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education can perform this function too.

Women empowerment groups have expressed disappointment at the gender imbalance of the new cabinet, which only features three women (Oppah Muchinguri, Sithembiso Nyoni and Olivia Muchena) among 26 ministers.

What is he smoking?

Kisinot Mukwazhe, leader of the MDP, said with this cabinet, Zimbabwe ‘can be an economic powerhouse’. What ever Kisinot is smoking, he should share it with us. Gideon Gono, employing silly sporting metaphors, said ‘Team Cabinet’ had ‘potential.’ Potential for what? The majority of ministers are the same ones who have been in office for decades. If any of them had potential – other than potential for self-enrichment – such potential would have been realised in the past 33 years.

Enduring the cabinet swearing-in ordeal on TV, I saw men bloated by ill-gotten wealth, murderers and human rights abusers, PhD holders and medical doctors who believe rocks yield pure diesel, all placing their tainted hands on the Holy Bible, as they took their oaths. The national broadcaster – to nobody’s surprise – lined up a string of interviewees, all of them expressing delight at the new cabinet. Really? Where do they find these sycophants!

Several Zanu (PF) supporters have evicted Silent Dube, an MDC-T official, from his property, Shamrock Farm in Beatrice. Dube was handcuffed, beaten and dumped near an army barracks. Dube’s belongings and household goods were tossed out of the homestead.

Rotten old donkey

Chenjerai Pamhira, a lecturer at Great Zimbabwe University appeared in court, on allegations of calling President Mugabe ‘impotent’ and a ‘wife snatcher’. Pamhira has already served time for a previous offence, when he called Mugabe a ‘dirty rotten old donkey’. Why is the legal system burdened with nonsense cases? The best protection for a president should be excellent service delivery. A happy citizenry does not hurl insults at the presidency.

National power utility, Zesa, has cancelled debts of domestic and farming sector consumers, amounting to $170 million, after pressure from the government. This will please electricity consumers but it remains to be seen if Zesa can still provide a decent service with a $170 million dent in its already strained coffers.

Till next week, my pen is capped. – Jerà

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