By Tendai Kamhungira
Ministers that form part of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Cabinet yesterday pledged to hit the ground running and transform the way of doing business in their respective portfolios after being sworn-in at State House yesterday.
Mnangagwa yesterday swore-in 20 Cabinet ministers together with 10 provincial ministers, two ministers of State in the Vice Presidents’ office, as well as 13 deputy ministers.
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said her ministry is crucial in rebranding Zimbabwe which had suffered nearly two decades of isolation.
“I think this is the ministry which has to work very hard to rebrand Zimbabwe in line with the vision of the president. His mantra is ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’, so we need to do everything to make sure that we comb through all the legislative Acts of press to see where there is freedom, where there is no freedom, we comb it out, we need to be in line with the new Zimbabwe’s mantra — Zimbabwe is open for business.
“We need to be open, and journalism also as the fourth estate is a very important institution and we need to see that its professional, it’s well respected and it’s also well paid,” she said.
Asked if the government was going to open the industry to new players, Mutsvangwa said: “We are living in a global world, we need to make sure that information is readily available, whether its people in the rural areas, urban areas and internationally.
“Zimbabwe needs to play its part and we can only achieve that by making information available, so obviously, we will be looking at all those.”
Mnangagwa’s Cabinet is leaner compared to that of his predecessor Robert Mugabe, who had a bloated Cabinet of over 30 ministers.
Mugabe resigned last November after a military intervention, which ushered in Mnangagwa to power. Following his inauguration last November Mnangagwa appointed a 22-member Cabinet, which has been running the country’s affairs until the July 30 harmonised elections.
Speaking to journalists during the swearing-in ceremony, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, expressed gratitude to Mnangagwa for appointing her the Defence minister.
“I feel honoured to be given such a position. By appointing me to such an important ministry, I believe that the president has trust in me and I pray to God to help me in the execution of my job,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said.
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi on the other hand, said there was a lot of work within his ministry that needed to be accomplished, which include the alignment of the country’s laws with the Constitution.
“…that is work that is going to be completed within the life span of this Parliament,” Ziyambi said, adding that there are going to be time lines within which to complete the alignments and dealing with the red flags in some sections of the law.
Speaking at the same event, Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo also said the time has come for the country to finalise re-engagement efforts with other countries that have been “sitting on the fence” waiting for the conducting of the elections, which were held on July 30, 2018.
“I can assure you that this is the time now to deploy all the forces of diplomacy to fully develop the economic re-engagement efforts,” he said.
He also said there is no shift in terms of the country’s foreign policy, adding that the country will be maintaining its relations with the East.
Zimbabwe adopted a Look-East approach in the early 2000s as its relations with the West broke down, after embarking on a fast-track land reform programme.
Moyo, however, said this time the country is opening its arms to the rest of the world and make Zimbabwe a free country to operate within the environs of the globe.
“We want to be free to deploy our people, we want to be free to trade internationally, we want to be free to participate in the international order. So, all that we want is to ensure that we are friendly to all countries and above all our policy is, we have always said Zimbabwe first in everything we do, but of course there are compromises, because each and every nation has got its own first and therefore as a result of that we then interchange and compromise within the interest of each nation and that way you then push your agenda, which is economic diplomacy,” he said.
He said the relations with the United States of America, which recently updated the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (Zidera), was progressing in a positive direction. Adding that some US officials had commended Zimbabwe for conducting elections in a peaceful manner, which was a positive step towards the re-engagement process. DailyNews