Zimbabwe’s New Presidential Cabinet Enforces Military

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa has made a new cabinet stuffed with ruling party loyalists and figures linked to the military, whose takeover helped oust former leader Robert Mugabe. No opposition politicians have been included.

The cabinet picks were viewed since the first test of whether Mnangwgwa, a longtime Mugabe ally, would go out of his shadow.

The 22-member cabinet announced late Thursday on state-run television includes Maj. Gen. Sibusiso Moyo as foreign ministry, Air Marshal Perrance Shiri as agriculture minister and Chris Mutsvangwa, leader of Zimbabwe’s war veterans, as information minister.

Shiri is directly linked to the Matabeleland killings of tens of thousands of People with a North Korea-trained military brigade in the 1980s when Mugabe moved against a political rival.

Moyo on Nov. 15 announced the army takeover that place Mugabe under home arrest and put in motion a nationwide clamor leading to the former president’s resignation after 37 years in power.

The listing of Cabinet selections makes no reference of vice presidents.

For some Zimbabweans who had hoped that the new leader would create the cabinet more inclusive, Thursday night’s statement was regarded as a disappointment when they’d chased the army’s takeover and endorsed the ruling party’s impeachment attempts.

Lawyer Alex Magaisa tweeted a recent photo of Mugabe and his spouse laughing together with the words “when they saw the new cabinet.” What a pity. What a missed opportunity.”

The new Cabinet also retains the Cybersecurity ministry that Mugabe created weeks back to criticism from activists who watched it as part of a crackdown on social media users.

In an interview earlier Thursday with The Associated Press, main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Mnangagwa includes a “very small window” to demonstrate that he’s distinct from Mugabe which he is fulfilling national expectations of change. Tsvangirai added that there has been “no dialogue” with the new direction.

He delivered the message at a graduation ceremony west of the capital, Harare. As president, he presides over all of Zimbabwe’s universities.

Mnangagwa said “that the planet has grown fiercely competitive” and that Zimbabweans must learn to deliver “finished products” to markets and extract the maximum “profitability” from the country’s natural resources.

Discontent With Zimbabwe’s economy was a factor in Mugabe’s downfall. Industries have collapsed, unemployment is high and cash shortages are all entangled.