Controversial appointments of Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa

Zimbabwe's new president, Mnangagwa, is making some controversial appointments to his government team. He is being criticised for many of his choices.

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Mnangagwa the President of Zimbabwe
Harare - 5/12/17: Drawing of Emmerson Mnangagwa the President of Zimbabwe. Portrait Caricature Vector Illustration Drawing. Photo: Doamamah, Bigstock

Robert Mugabe’s historic 37 years of ruler-ship came to an abrupt end in November 2017. Emmerson Mnangagwa took over power in the same month after series of event that occurred.

Emmerson Mnangagwa is now seen as the face of the new democracy in Zimbabwe. After being sworn into power just over a week ago, 24th November, the new president has named his cabinets without delay.

The appoints has drawn lots of attention from critics. The president gave high profile positions to senior military figures. This move has taken away the smiles on the faces of thousands of citizens which jubilated following the resignation of the Robert Mugabe.

The jubilation was on the basis that the economy and the living standard would improve with the new dispensation. Many see the move as a first sign that it is wrong to expect that something would change with the change in presidents.

Appointments that raised eyebrows

Perence Shiri, the head Zimbabwe’s air force was appointed to become the new minister of agriculture and land affairs.

This is a highly controversial appointment because he was responsible for leading the military operation which warred against those who opposed the then president Mugabe back in the 1980s in Matabeleland.

About 20,000 civilians lost their lives in this North Korean trained Fifth Brigade Army-led operation. His new portfolio means he will oversee the highly controversial Zimbabwe’s land reform program started by Mugabe.

Many believe that the reform which led to the seizure of thousands of farmlands owned by the minorities triggered the inflation and failure of once booming Zimbabwe’s economy.

Sibusiso MoyoImage, a general, would serve as the foreign minister as appointed by Mnangagwa. This is the minister that announced on state TV the military takeover government house in Harare.

The same man who openly denied the coup on air. He is vested with authority now in the new regime under Mnangagwa.

Some of the responses from the citizens

Tendai Biti, a popular government critic, reiterated the loss in hope for change following the appointments. He doesn’t see the country moving forward with the controversial appointments.

Biti goes on further to say that the citizens were naïve to believe that economic change, peace, and stability would come from the new administration.

As a country experiencing economic distress, many expected that technocrats would be appointed to fix the economy irrespective of party affiliation.

Trevor Ncube, a newspaper owner in Zimbabwe sees the new cabinets as very disappointing because it is a recycling of the same people that caused the crisis in the country.

He stated that the new president’s appointment shows his intents of rewarding the members of the ruling party, Zanu-PF unity, and the key players that facilitated his gaining of power from Mugabe.