Cabinet: Don’t expect surprises from a President who ran on a ‘continuity’ platform

(pic: Zinyange Auntony)

We should not expect major changes in Cabinet from a candidate that ran on the platform of “continuity”, says President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesman.

Mnangagwa is expected to name a new Cabinet soon, as he begins his new term. He has already returned to office his two deputies, reinstating Kembo Mohadi, who resigned early in 2021 over a sex scandal.

George Charamba says Mnangagwa will be announcing a Cabinet “with a sense of urgency”, but suggested there are unlikely to be major changes to his team.

“By the way, we shouldn’t forget that the President ran on the ticket of continuity. He started lots of far-flung projects around infrastructure, be it roads, rail, water, energy; the whole area is yet to be completed,” said Charamba.

As its 2023 “manifesto”, ZANU PF released a series of documents on projects run in Mnangagwa’s first term, saying he did not need to make any new commitments but to continue with his policies.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube lost his bid to be elected to Parliament, but is likely to be retained. This is despite ZANU PF having expressed its unease, ahead of the election, over the state of the economy under his watch. On Thursday, the Ministry released a statement saying it would continue with current economic policies, which include a tight hold on money supply.

Mnangagwa named his Agriculture Minister, Anxious Masuka, as his best-performing Minister earlier this year, after improved grain harvests. Ahead of ZANU PF primaries, Mnangagwa said Masuka need not take part because he had a job to do, indicating he will stay put.

“I have released Minister Anxious Masuka from distractions of constituency politics so his sole focus and sole politics relate to this one goal of transforming our agriculture for a food-secure Nation for all times. He will be a non-constituency Member of Parliament, so he has enough time to live, think and dream agriculture only,” said Mnangagwa.

The outsiders

Mnangagwa is allowed to appoint seven ministers from outside parliament. Some Ministers lost their seats ahead of the election, and Mnangagwa will decide whether to keep them or not.

Industry Minister Sekai Nzenza lost her constituency in Chikomba to delimitation, and fell in the party primary to Felix Mhona, the Transport Minister who went on to win the seat in the election.

Tourism Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu also lost his seat after his Bulilima East was collapsed into a new constituency, Bulilima. He ceded the combined seat to Digumuzi Phuti, who was MP for Bulilima West.

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi lost party primaries in Zvimba West. Attempts to save him via a rerun showed he was still in favour. He remains a strong Mnangagwa ally and was wheeled out to attack observer reports in the post-election period.

In 2018, Mnangagwa’s non-constituency MPs were Ncube, Amon Murwira as Higher Education Minister, Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry, Obadiah Moyo at Health, and July Moyo at Local Government.

This time, July Moyo won a seat in Redcliff, Obadiah Moyo was sacked in 2020 over a COVID scandal, while Coventry is unlikely to make it back.