Reshuffle a blunder

Cabinet: Celebrated looters get top jobs by: Staff Reporter

11 October 2017

OPPOSITION parties have condemned President Robert Mugabe’s cabinet reshuffle, accusing the veteran leader of appointing celebrated looters to key government departments.

Targeted for particular criticism were new home affairs minister Obert Mpofu and Ignatius Chombo, who now heads the ministry of finance.

President Mugabe reassigned 10 ministers, appointed eights and fired three on Monday.

Among the 10 reassigned were Chombo and Mpofu, perhaps the richest of Mugabe’s ministers. The two are widely believed to have used their government positions to corruptly enrich themselves.

“The country has just witnessed another blunder from Robert Mugabe. Mugabe re-aligned his looting mafia group amid months of speculation,” Mjobisa Noko, the opposition ZAPU spokesperson told in Harare on Tuesday.

“Over the past 36 years Mugabe has presided over the destruction of what was once the bread basket of Africa, a country that had a strong currency in 1980.

“He (Mugabe) has over the years reshuffled his non-performing bootlickers and yesterday's cabinet is no exception. He has reshuffled deadwood and now he has fossilized it,” Noko said.

Non-performers rewarded

The ZAPU spokesperson added: “He (Mugabe) has rewarded non-performers, looters - a gang of thieves and he is further promoting kleptocracy.

“Chombo and Mpofu cannot be entrusted with the running of core ministries and, surely, in the case of Chombo, its putting ‘gonzo mudura’, and, worse, Mr Victoria Falls (Mpofu) will preside on the injustices left by Chombo. It is well known that these ministers have amassed their wealth through corrupt means.”

NCA spokesperson Madock Chivasa said his party was shocked by the reassignment of minister Chombo to the Finance ministry given his “well documented corruption” history.

“He (Chombo) is not only unqualified for the job but has a well-documented history of allegations of corruption and his footprints across all ministries placed under his authority speak of a man who cannot and has never been able to manage a single ministry,” said Chivasa.

Meanwhile, the Welshman Ncube-led MDC party said the appointment of former CIO director Happyton Bonyongwe as justice minister and the creation of a cyber security ministry were meant to steal the election for Zanu PF.

“This has, by one stroke, reduced the courts and other vital public institutions into CIO projects,” said MDC spokesman Kurauone Chihwayi.

“Additionally, the creation of a whole new bogus ministry, the Ministry of Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation whose sole purpose is to clamp down on the free flow of information on social media signals a whole new level of desperation by President Mugabe.

“It is clear that social media has sent panic waves in the Zanu PF camp after the realisation that their discredited state media is no longer the only game in town, and suffering Zimbabweans have found alternative platforms on which to freely express their views and mobilise against President Mugabe's misrule.”

Chihwayi added: “It is very clear that we will soon begin to hear from this bogus ministry of more draconian laws enacted for the specific purpose of intimidating and silencing the masses.

“The MDC finds the creation of this ministry as absurd, especially as it comes at a time when we are running up to elections and citizens are supposed to feel free to disseminate information and mobilise in the spirit of democracy.”

New ministers sworn in after major Cabinet reshuffle

President Robert Mugabe has sworn in new ministers, a day after a Cabinet reshuffle in which he stripped the justice ministry from a vice president accused of harbouring presidential ambitions.

The eight new ministers who took office on Tuesday include Happyton Bonyongwe, the former intelligence chief who is now justice minister.

He replaced Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was once viewed a front-runner to succeed 93-year-old Mugabe but has been harshly criticised recently by the president and his wife for allegedly leading a faction angling for power.

Mnangagwa, a close ally of Mugabe since the 1970s war for independence from white minority rule, became vice president in 2014. He had held the justice portfolio since 2013.

Mugabe also appointed new finance and information ministers in this week's reshuffle.