Monday, 4 December 2017

MNANGAGWA'S TWO-DAY MINISTERS

 If there was someone queer enough to apply to Guinness Book of World Records to have the title “shortest lived government ministers” added to their database, the category will certainly not be short of takers.

Among the frontrunners would be South Africa’s former Finance minister Des van Rooyen who was reshuffled after three days by President Jacob Zuma following widespread criticism of his appointment.

That race would also include Messaoud Benagoun who was Algeria’s Tourism minister for three days and Trinidad and Tobago’s Public Utilities minister Marlene McDonald who was 
fired after two days on the job.

Somewhere down the pecking order will be three faces that momentarily made it into President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Cabinet last week only for their excitement to be quashed while they were in the midst of popping champagne bottles.

Clever Nyati, Lazarus Dokora and Christopher Mutsvangwa had made it into Cabinet on Thursday evening only for the appointments to be rescinded two days later.

A day before they could be sworn in, Mnangagwa quickly moved to drop them from his Cabinet upon realising that he had overlooked the number of non-constituency legislators he could appoint to be ministers.


Before the news could reach him, Mutsvangwa, who had been made Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister, had already “hit the ground running”.

He gave an interview to VOA, assuring Zimbabwean journalists that he will be bringing a new approach to their work, including revising controversial laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Public Order and Security Act, which have stifled the country’s media environment.

“I will look at the Constitution, pick out some parts and throw them out of the window,” Mutsvangwa was quoted saying, as he castigated former Information minister Jonathan Moyo, who crafted the laws.

“The madness of Jonathan (Moyo) to think that he can think for the whole country of 14-million, I don’t like that.”

Mnangagwa’s revocation of the three appointments came as another crop of ex-ministers are still trying to come to terms with their short-lived tenure in former president Robert Mugabe’s last Cabinet.

In October, Mugabe had made significant changes to his Cabinet by introducing new faces as he sought to do away with the Team Lacoste cabal that had been campaigning for Mnangagwa to succeed him.

The life of that Cabinet was cut short by the unexpected resignation of Mugabe, a man many had gambled would die in office.

For decades Happyton Bonyongwe was the head of Mugabe’s secret service and he was subsequently appointed to Mugabe’s Cabinet on October 9 as the head of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, replacing Mnangagwa who had been performing the dual roles of vice president and Justice minister since December 2015.

During his swearing-in ceremony, Bonyongwe said he was relishing the opportunity of serving in his new post.

“It is my hope that I will be able to make some positive contributions to my country. That is something that has always motivated me. I view it as a deployment by my leadership and therefore, I look at it from that context and I will go there and do my best,” he said then.
Well, as for doing his best, that chance never came during a stint that did not last long.
His fate was intertwined with former minister of State for Masvingo Province Paul Chimedza, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Edgar Mbwembwe, Foreign Affairs minister Walter Mzembi and Finance minister Ignatius Chombo.

Before they had moved into their offices, their portfolios were disbanded by a military intervention that led to the resignation of Mugabe on November 21.
The over a month long stay in Cabinet may well be the record for the shortest ministerial appointment ever held in Zimbabwe.

That script rang true for the Zanu PF central committee where one Johnson Madhuku’s venture as a Zanu PF central committee member only lasted for a week.

Madhuku is famed for turning around the fortunes of Reformed Church-run Pamushana High School where he is headmaster, to a school that has become a sporting powerhouse and talent conveyer belt of repute.

But his ascend to that position through loyalty to former First Lady Grace Mugabe counted for nothing as he was among those purged by the military recently.

Madhuku along with Jeffreys Murire, Veronica Dzika and Watson Maguraumwe faced the chop. They had been elected into the Zanu PF central committee for Bikita before the elections were annulled as a faction rallying behind Mnangagwa went on a purge of members aligned to G40.

Ironically, their election had come after the purging of Zanu PF members aligned to Mnangagwa who was at that time fighting for his political life after he was fired by then president Mugabe.

The cleansing of G40 loyalists in Zanu PF central committee structures also saw the axe fall on Chimedza and former provincial Governor Willard Chiwewe whose election to the Zanu PF central committee, a week earlier, was nullified by the Zanu PF Masvingo provincial executive.

The supposedly sham elections also saw Gutu West legislator Tongai Muzenda, Retired Colonel Mutero Masanganise and Patricia Gama being chopped, after a week on the job.
It will definitely be a hard record to break for a somewhat reformed Zanu PF which is trying to pick up the pieces after the dismissal of Mugabe. Daily News

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