President Mnangagwa’s new cabinet fails to meet the expectations of many Zimbabweans who are suffering from a collapsing economy and a moribund local currency. Prices of basic commodities have been on an upward trend, pushing many Zimbabweans, especially the underprivileged into abject poverty. UZA had hoped President Mnangagwa’s cabinet would show, at least, his concern and efforts to turn around the economy and the fortunes of the people of Zimbabwe, especially young people who bear the brunt of rising unemployment. Instead, the newly appointed cabinet falls short in a number of respects, the following in particular:
• The President’s brazen display of nepotism by appointing his son David Kudakwashe Mnangagwa as the Deputy Finance Minister and his nephew Tongai Mafidhi Mnangagwa as Deputy Minister of Tourism and Hospitality is synonymous with dynastic succession and should never be condoned in a democratic #Zimbabwe.
• President Mnangagwa’s cabinet essentially is a reshuffling of the same team that spearheaded the current economic meltdown. This will not move the nation forward. To achieve international standards, the President’s cabinet should be a platform that taps into the experiences of its appointed ministers. Experience, however, does not refer to the number of years one has spent in cabinet or to age.
• President Mnangagwa missed an opportunity to refocus government towards #sustainable development. Appointing new qualified minds would bring new solutions to the myriad of challenges Zimbabwe is facing. Where are the #youth in President Mnangagwa’s cabinet? The old generation should allow Zimbabwe’s young people to chart the way forward for future generations.
More than one third of President Mnangagwa’s cabinet ministers are over 60 years old and most of them have been in cabinet for the better part of their political lives. While #UZA respects the cadres who sacrificed their lives for an independent Zimbabwe, we do not believe that 43 years after independence the country should remain in war mode. It’s time for new blood.
• Appointing 26 cabinet ministers and 10 provincial ministers in a country already burdened with economic malaise proves that either President #Mnangagwa is out of touch with reality or has no regard for the voice of the people. UZA would have expected President Mnangagwa to trim the size of his cabinet. UZA favours a lean cabinet of under 15 ministers, which should include qualified and experienced individuals leading the various portfolios.
• UZA questions what the role of the minister responsible for provincial affairs is. What is the role of the Skills Audit Ministry? Could it not have been a department within another ministry? There is redundancy in President Mnangagwa’s cabinet.
• #Women’s political participation and influence is a key factor in achieving gender parity. The gender regression in President Mnangagwa’s cabinet appears to disregard the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) which targets the integration of gender mainstreaming across all sectors building on government’s commitment towards the National Gender Policy, Gender Equality and Gender Responsive Budgeting Strategy.
President Mnangagwa’s cabinet ministers include only 6 women and 20 men. This contradicts past government pronouncements and stakeholder efforts to achieve gender balance in the governance of Zimbabwe. Women and #girls constitute 52% of our country’s population yet they continue to be underrepresented across key sectors resulting in limited opportunities to influence policy and access economic and legal protections. Women are also highly impacted by cultural and patriarchal barriers.
As UZA, we call upon President Mnangagwa to urgently consider the following:
• Disband and combine redundant ministries to create a lean cabinet.
• Ensure 50/50 gender balance in appointments. We acknowledge the delicate and emotive exercise of striving to achieve gender balance and we expect meritocracy to be a criteria when working to establish gender equity.
• Withdraw appointment of ministers who are past their prime to pave way for accomplished young ministers who have the capacity to bring forward new innovative ideas.
• Invite CVs and publicly interview Zimbabweans for ministerial positions in the same way judges and commissioners are appointed.
• Include competent persons from opposition parties in cabinet ministerial positions. Zimbabwe belongs to us all!
The August 2023 elections did not meet the standards of a free and fair election and the #SADC Principles Governing Democratic Elections. As UZA, we call upon President Mnangagwa to conduct a consultation process aimed at finding solutions to the country’s challenges, maintaining stability and unifying the nation post-election. This is not time to grandstand. Zimbabweans count on political leadership to create a conducive environment for sustainable development.Post published in: Featured