War Cabinet: Zimbabwe Army ‘Hijack’ Ministerial Jobs

Harare – The latest Zimbabwean cabinet squad announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been hijacked by military personnel – confirming previous notions that the recent ‘soft coup’ was meant to consolidate their power base plus political influence.

Mnangagwa newly appointed a 22-member Cabinet – much leaner as compared to his predecessor’s bloated lineup – but the wait delivered more regrets – as he recycled the similar characters who masterminded the country’s social bankruptcy.

Zimbabwe is still adjusting to normalcy after a recent army takeover dubbed Operation Restore Legacy – that automatically ended former President Robert Mugabe’s uninterrupted 37-year reign.

Save for a few new faces – the rest of the cabinet is dominated by the old guard – who have failed dismally under Mugabe’s leadership – or have been embroiled in nefarious operations that have rendered the country bankrupt.

“Apart from the disappointing show of continuity, the other significant feature of the new Cabinet is the military appointments, which ironically add credence to the coup theory, which its authors have been desperate to deny.”
Major-General SB Moyo

For most observers, this looks like a reward for the military or more specifically, like the military asserting its authority. It goes without saying that the military were the key drivers in the removal of Mugabe and the change of government,” opined respected lawyer, Alex Magaisa.

Major-General Sbusiso Moyo – the face of the soft coup and a holder of a PHD in International Relations has made the surprise entry into the cabinet as the minister of foreign affairs – a post normally reserved for proven intellectuals in the preceding government.

The army boss appeared on state television to pronounce army takeover – and soon after became a darling of many. Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri is another shock addition – taking over as minister of agriculture – a sector already embroiled in controversy.

Christopher Mutsvangwa – the leader of the once fiery war veterans cluster and ardent enforcer of the Mnangagwa’s presidency will assume the minister of information, once occupied by self-exiled Professor Jonathan Moyo.

Victor Matemdanda has been rewarded for his perpetual allegiance, after he publicly challenged Grace Mugabe as she went on rampant attack against Mnangagwa and his cabal allies. He will become war veterans deputy minister. 

Newspaper owner Trevor Ncube, speaking to the BBC said the cabinet was 'very disappointing'.

“Largely the same people that caused this crisis have been recycled. The honeymoon comes to an end and reality dawns. His concern seems to have been rewarding those who brought him to power and Zanu-PF unity,”  he said.

Zimbabweans also vented their anger on the surprise cabinet.

Perennial Mnangagwa opponent, Professor Jonathan Moyo was quick to vent his anger at the new cabinet.

“So General SB Moyo who announced the "intervention" on ZTV & misled the world by claiming it wasn't a coup, is one of the commanders in the #CoupCabinet as Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Trade. Even #Nigeria didn't have so many commanders in Cabinet in its coup days,” wrote Professor Moyo.

“Zimbabwe military officials given key jobs in post-Mugabe cabinet,” wrote Tendai Biti on twitter.

Another popular social media commentator known as Africa had no kind words for the new cabinet.

“The Constitution allows President of Zimbabwe to appoint only 5 Ministers outside Parliament. You got 2 Professors, 2 Military Bosses and Mimosa Chair and the rest are the same old Ministers we know perennial underachievers.

Doug Coltart said: “Zimbabwe, you are right to feel betrayed. On 18 November, we ALL came out on the streets, united as a people around a common vision of a new Zimbabwe. This Cabinet does not represent a new Zimbabwe but the entrenchment of the old failed political elite. Aluta continua!”

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