HARARE, October 9 – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is set to reshuffle his cabinet amid fears some ministers could cost him victory in the 2018 presidential elections.
It is widely expected some politicians backing his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, in Zanu-PF’s factional battles to succeed the veteran leader (93) will be dropped.
The party, in power since independence in 1980, is torn between factions siding with Mnangagwa (75) and Mugabe’s wife Grace (52).
However, speaking this past weekend, Mugabe cited alleged incompetence by some ministers as the reason behind the looming reshuffle.
“Although we appointed people (ministers) to certain positions, did they live up to the calling of those positions?” he asked rhetorically.
“We must also look at ourselves and say to ourselves, ‘well, have we, all of us, co-operated together or are there some among us who, although they were given (ministerial), positions and although they are good members of the party, but have not done well?,” Mugabe said.
Ahead of the announced reshuffle, it has been speculated Mnangagwa could be among officials to be dropped.
Apart from deputizing Mugabe, he is the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs and has held several key positions including Defence.
Meanwhile, Mugabe risked ruffling diplomatic feathers with Nigeria when he accused vendors of turning Zimbabwe’s capital Harare into “a Nigeria.”
The vendors have been sprouting on the back of the collapse of industries and lack of employment opportunities.
“We do not want to see Nigerian-style (vending),” Mugabe said.
“I hear these Nigerians are now the majority. They are spoiling the city by selling everywhere. Harare must be the smartest of all towns because it’s our capital city. We must clear the roads,” Mugabe charged.
Harare City Council’s acting town clerk, Josephine Ncube, said the city would soon embark on a joint operation with police and councillors to restore the image of the capital city.
“We accept that the informal sector is critical in income generation, but there is need to balance that with order, compliance with bylaws, and payment of taxes,” Ncube said.
Critics however argued this was a ploy to scuttle the opposition base in urban areas.
“Mugabe knows the majority of people (vendors) in the Harare never voted for his party hence victimising them,” said activist Takurai Huruva.
He added: “Mugabe must reshuffle himself in order to revive our economy.”
– CAJ News