Posts in Mugabe cabinet go to more moderate faction of Zanu-PF

Allies of vice-president Mujuru emerge biggest winners

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe: has indicated he intends seeing out his new five-year term as president, which will be his seventh. Photograph: Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe: has indicated he intends seeing out his new five-year term as president, which will be his seventh. Photograph: Philimon Bulawayo

Fri, Sep 13, 2013, 18:10


Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is favouring the more moderate of the two factions seeking to take control of his ruling Zanu-PF party after he steps down, indicated by the appointments he made to his new cabinet this week.

The faction of vice-president Joyce Mujuru’s faction emerged the big winner on Tuesday when Mr Mugabe announced that a number of her allies had been appointed to take control of key posts in Zimbabwe’s new government.

Ms Mujuru’s main supporter, the national chair of Zanu-PF Simon Khaya Moyo, was appointed a senior minister of state without a portfolio. This post is widely regarded as a waiting post for the vice-presidency.

Another key member of her group, Sydney Sekeramayi, was appointed defence minister, replacing Emmerson Mnangagwa, the man who leads the more hard line military aligned faction in Zanu-PF’s ranks.

The minister of defence is a critical position in Zimbabwe’s government. The army, which has always been loyal to Zanu-PF, has played a central role in the country’s politics since the party came to power in 1980.

While Mr Mugabe (89) has indicated he intends seeing out his new five-year term as president, which will be his seventh, many observers believe his advanced age will bring a halt to that ambition.

The Mnangagwa faction only got two key ministries in the new government – the department of justice, which Mr Mnangagwa now holds, and the department of finance, which was given to Patrick Chinamasa, who was stripped of the influential justice ministry.

Another Mnangagwa ally, Obert Mpofu, was removed from the important mines ministry and handed transport and infrastructural development instead. Many believe he was removed because of the local and international outcry over the manner in which diamond revenues due to the state were being mishandled.

The general view is that Mr Mugabe has awarded loyal supporters with high-level posts rather than appointing individuals with the technical ability to steer Zimbabwe away from the plethora of problems bedevilling it.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which claims Zanu-PF rigged the general election on July 31st to secure power, has called the new cabinet political “deadwood”.

“Regrettably, what we have seen is a recycling of the same exhausted minds that have presided over the dramatic demise of what was once the jewel and bread basket of Africa,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.