Heads of Christian unions in Zimbabwe have joined the push for a small, gender and generational balanced, efficient and rotten-free cabinet as President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to announce a new administration soon following his inauguration in what marks the take-off of a fresh era to reconstruct the country’s economy.
Senior pastor and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) president Dr Shingi Munyeza, also known as The Watchman, took to Twitter recently to express the government that would interest the needs of the country whose economy has been in a slump of mass indigence, gender and generational imbalance, corruption and ineptitude for a while now.
In point form, he scrawled: “THE CABINET WE WANT 1.Small cabinet – Less than 20 2. Gender balance and generational balance 3. Track record of competence and results driven. 4. No SMELL of corruption. 5. Must all be on measurable performance contract”
THE CABINET WE WANT
1.Small cabinet – Less than 20
2. Gender balance and generational balance
3. Track record of competence and results driven.
4. No SMELL of corruption.
5. Must all be on measurable performance contract#TheCabinetWeWant #Zimbabwe
— Shingi Munyeza (@ShingiMunyeza) 1 September 2018
Mr Munyeza, whose organisation has over 700 member bodies comprising denominations, Church bodies, ministries and Para-Church organisations and represents over 4.5 million individual members over the years, here echoed the voices of ordinary citizens who are also advocating for the same thing. Public echo chambers are saying that President Mnangagwa must appoint a development-oriented cabinet, blending hard workers and technocrats who can stir the ship in the direction he envisions.
According to a local paper the Independent Zimbabwe, Mnangagwa, whose slim victory in the July 30 elections was upheld by the Constitutional Court, faces the unenviable task of picking ministers from a pool of Zanu PF legislators with a history tainted with corruption and incompetence, while some are presiding over poorly performing corporates.
A government source told the tabloid that Mnangagwa was likely to appoint “younger cabinet ministers in some ministries but retain the old guard in security and agriculture ministries to reassure war veterans while consolidating the gains of agrarian reform implemented during the three-decade rule of Mugabe.”
The sources said Mnangagwa will also seek to strike a balance between civilian and military faces.
“There is tension between the military element and the civilian element in government and Zanu PF. Mnangagwa will need to find a balance. The composition will show who has the upper hand in government decisions between Mnangagwa and Chiwenga,” an official said.
In December last year, Mnangagwa was heavily censured for retaining Mugabe’s “dead wood” cabinet with tired, old non-performers, as well as some officials known for wreaking havoc in their localities, the Independent further established.
Mnangagwa, a source said, was under immense pressure to set up a “refreshed cabinet that would gain public confidence that could turn around the country’s economic fortunes,” it says.
“Expectations are high that cabinet will have new blood, skills and competencies to spearhead Zimbabwe’s economic recovery agenda. That is what the president is targeting to do, but competing interests might stop him from achieving that objective,” an official said.
Diplomatic sources say the West, particularly Britain, is persuading Mnangagwa to consider working with the opposition.
However, sources say the military clique surrounding Mnangagwa and some hardliners in government are vehemently against the idea.
There are reports that British ambassador Catriona Laing discussed the issue with MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa last Tuesday.
“We can confirm that British ambassador Catriona Laing had a useful meeting with Nelson Chamisa this week. At that meeting, Mr Chamisa gave his own assessment of the current situation in Zimbabwe following the elections,” a British embassy spokesperson told the Zimbabwe Independent.
“As our minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin indicated at the weekend, the UK has called on President Mnangagwa to reach out to those who did not support him or his party and to work to build their confidence and trust. We have also called on the opposition to play their part in healing processes.”
Gender is an important element in balancing the level of government policy decision making and Zimbabweans contend that women should also take their place in the incoming cabinet, but they should base their appointment on capacities.
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