By Nigel Pfunde
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to reshuffle his cabinet after succumbing to pressure exerted by the growing economic crisis and whispers of factionalism within his ruling Zanu PF party.
Insiders who spoke to Zim Morning Post said Mnangagwa wants to chop deadwood and appoint competent individuals who can turn around the economy dogged by rocketing inflation, power blackouts, fuel queues and a population struggling to cover basic food needs.
There is wide speculation that some bigwigs and Mnangagwa’s allies will face the axe.
“It is certain that the President (Mnangagwa) will reshuffle the Cabinet this month or early April. There has been pressure from certain quarters but the President had already hinted that he will review the Cabinet based on performance thus far.
“The Ministry of Energy Power Development has been giving him headaches and Chasi (Fortune) is likely to be relieved of his duties or reassigned,” revealed our source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The news of a Cabinet reshuffle appears to have caused panic within members of the cabinet as accusations and counter accusations of hate and ‘professional jealousy’ have been flying around lately.
Big names that have been thrown in the ring include Owen Ncube, July Moyo, Fortune Chasi, Mangaliso Ndlovu, Joel Biggie Matiza and Sibusiso Moyo.
Popularly known as Mudha, the minister of State Security is likely to be a casualty following his different approach to Mnangagwa’s re-engagement policy.
On his ascension to power, Mnangagwa employed a soft stance in which he is on record for describing himself to be ‘as soft as wool’.
Contrary to this approach, Mudha is a hardliner and the United States, in fact, recently added him on the sanctions list .
The Trump administration accused him of being involved in the State-sponsored violence on civilians that saw several people being shot dead by soldiers on August 1, 2018.
Joel Biggie Matiza
It appears the Transport and Infrastructural development minister was assigned a tall order, which he is yet to effectively deliver.
Since his appointment, Air Zim has been stagnant and no turn-around was effected despite all of his promises to act.
The national flag carrier took delivery of two planes recently, but there has been no effective turnaround strategy implemented.
The road rehabilitation has been at a snail’s pace and he is likely to face the chop and pave way for an ‘action man’.
Despite being an accomplished architect, he has done little to none in infrastructural development as outlined in his portfolio.
The completion of the Harare-Beitbridge Highway has taken ages, but millions were poured for the project. His stint was also marred by a plethora of scandals.
Popularly known as the Snake Skinner, Energy and Power development minister has been working extremely hard, but murmurs from highly placed sources suggests that he faces the exit door.
He assumed a Herculean task where the country faced a power crisis and owed Eskom millions of dollars. The fuel reservoirs were also dry and it coincided with low water levels at Kariba dam.
He employed all sorts of policies to save the country but all was in vain.
Sources say Mnangagwa wants to assign someone with an engineering background on the position since the portfolio requires some technical know-how.
Chasi has also been castigated for failing to fully roll out the ‘go green ‘campaign across all provinces.
With all the energy and hard work he put in, if he is ‘skinned’ from cabinet, then his case will be true testimony to the law of diminishing returns.
The Foreign Affairs minister is Mnangagwa’s blue eyed boy without a shred of doubt. He has been loyal to him in both politics and business dating back to the DRC war.
He was one of the main actors in the 2017 military intervention that saw Mnangagwa taking over from the late Robert Mugabe and he made the announcement that Robert Mugabe was safe and the army was targeting criminals surrounding him.
However, his departure from cabinet is inevitable. Whispers in political corridors suggest that his health issues will see him been ejected from cabinet.
His portfolio requires a lot of travelling as he is supposed be the face of the nation as the country’s chief public relations manager.
But due to poor health he has not been travelling and that portfolio needs someone who plays a ‘Vasco Dagama’ and flies all over the world engaging other states, especially with the re-engagement policy that the new dispensation adopted.
Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu
The youthful minister Tourism minister might have been affected by age. His energetic but leadership comes with maturity and that could be his major handicap.
In his short stint as Tourism minister after reassignment from Industry and Commerce, the tourism traffic growth has been marginal.
The ministry needs someone like Walter Mzembi although he subsequently fell in the wrong basket.
He who appoints faces disappointment!
President Mnangagwa is the sole appointing authority and his disappointment is on limited choice of candidates.
The slot for five technocrats is filled meaning he has to choose from the sitting Members of Parliament.
However, with the current crop of Zanu PF MPs now, he has a tough task to choose replacements. It would be a case of changing the picture frame with the picture remaining the same. Zim Morning Post