Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa swore in his cabinet on Monday, despite the criticism for giving top posts to the generals who helped him rise to power. A move which was greatly supported by his allies.
Sworn in as president on November 24 after 93-year-old Robert Mugabe quit following a de facto military coup, Mnangagwa has also come under fire for bringing back several faces from the Mugabe era, including Patrick Chinamasa as finance minister.
Mnangagwa gave key jobs to two top military officers, including Sibusiso Moyo, a major general who on November 15 went on state TV to announce the military’s takeover – a power grab which climaxed a week later when Robert Mugabe quit the presidency.
According to a statement released late Thursday, Moyo was appointed foreign minister while the long-serving airforce commander, Perence Shiri, became minister of lands and agriculture, a vital job following the controversial seizure of land from white farmers nearly two decades ago.
Observers sharply criticised the lineup, and the choices drew groans of dismay from many Zimbabweans.
His cabinet also retains many faces from the Mugabe regime, including the finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa, and Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu.
Zimbabweans cry out ‘We are doomed’
Zimbabwean citizens interviewed by AFP said they found the new government’s lineup to be uninspiring, even disastrous.
Many are yearning for a clean break from Mugabe’s 37-year rule, which left the country with a crippled economy, high unemployment and emigration, and marred by allegations of rights abuses and election-rigging.
“We thought we are going to have a new Zimbabwe after Mugabe’s fall but it seems there is nothing new. The same failed ministers have been re-appointed. It is sad. We are doomed,” lamented Tererai Moyo, a 37-year-old florist in the capital Harare.
In his inaugural address last week
“The makeup of this cabinet does not reflect the sentiment expressed in his inaugural address in terms of a move towards inclusivity. This is certainly a negative indicator,” said Pigou.
“Those who naively thought that a revolution took place will be disappointed by the reassertion of power by the military deep state and the attempt to re-establish unity within Zanu-PF, without representation for the youth or opposition politicians,” said Hasnain Malik of the UK-based emerging and frontier markets investment bank Exotix Capital, in a note.
Leaders of the 1970’s liberation war against colonial rule, who spearheaded mass protests to force Mugabe out of office, were also awarded cabinet positions. They include Chris Mutsvangwa, the leader of the war veterans, who has become information minister