The 30 year Robert Mugabe circus continue at the Cabinet swearing in
HARARE – Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe retained most members of a cabinet he described only last year as "the worst in history" when ministers to steer a new power sharing government were sworn in at a chaotic ceremony on Friday.
A total of 36 ministers, four more than expected, recited their oaths on the lawn of the State House, finalising a power-sharing arrangement nearly a year after disputed elections. Deputy ministers will take office next week, officials said.
There was disappointment for some members of Mugabe’s Zanu PF who were invited to turn up to be sworn in, only to be disappointed after the party ran up its quota of allocations.
Mugabe gave some of his staunchest hardline supporters the key posts of Defence, Agriculture and National Security.
The President named the unpopular Joseph Made to head Agriculture, Ignatius Chombo to stay in charge of Local Government and his powerful confidante Emmerson Mnangagwa to head Defence.
Former Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa takes charge of the Lands and Land Resettlement ministry while Webster Shamu was sworn-in as the new Minister of Information and Publicity.
Sydney Sekeramayi moves from Defence to take charge of State Security, Kembo Mohadi stays at Home Affairs where he will be in joint charge with Giles Mutsekwa of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by new Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai.
The swearing in ceremony, attended by regional leaders and diplomats, was held under the shadow of news that Roy Bennett, nominated to deputise in Agriculture by Tsvangirai, had been arrested over an outstanding warrant.
Bennett, expected to be one of two whites in the Cabinet, was held by police at the Charles Prince Airport on the outskirts of Harare. It is believed he was flying to South Africa where he recently returned after almost three years. He fled Zimbabwe in 2006 after he was implicated in an alleged plot to assassinate President Mugabe.
The swearing in ceremony had to be delayed following a dispute sparked by Zanu PF attempts to swear in SIX Ministers of State instead of the three agreed with the two MDC factions who are parties to the September 15 power sharing agreement brokered by regional leaders.
South African President Kgalema Motlanthe waded into the stand-off and suggested a compromise which allowed Mugabe to swear in two Zanu PF Ministers of State and one from Tsvangirai’s MDC.
Gibson Sibanda, set to be sworn in as Minister of State from the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC was forced to skip taking the oath along with other Zanu PF ministerial nominees including John Nkomo, Sylvester Nguni, David Parirenyatwa and Flora Buka.
"President Motlanthe suggested that the three parties should use the weekend to resolve the dispute and reach a compromise before Monday when the deputy ministers are sworn in. The expectation is that the Ministers of State who were not sworn in today will be sworn in together with the deputy ministers," said Professor Welshman Ncube, the new Minister of Industry and Commerce who is also secretary general of Mutambara’s MDC.
Friday’s ceremony at State House, where Tsvangirai was memorably sworn in on Wednesday as Prime Minister by Mugabe, was expected to conclude the formation of the government, but fresh disputes appear likely to drag on until at least Monday.
Zimbabweans are counting on the new administration to bring about change in a country that is reeling from world-record inflation, severe food, fuel and cash shortages, and raging HIV and cholera epidemics.
But analysts warn that the MDC’s ability to effect change is hampered by the skewed sharing of power. Mugabe remains head of state and government, while Tsvangirai’s role will be to formulate and implement policy.
THE FULL CABINET:
Education – David Coltart (MDC-M)
Industry and Commerce – Welshman Ncube (MDC-M)
Regional Integration and International Trade – Priscilla Misihairabwi (MDC-M)
Defence – Emmerson Mnangwagwa (Zanu PF)
State Security – Sydney Sekeramayi (Zanu PF)
Agriculture – Joseph Made (Zanu PF)
Transport – Nicholas Goche (Zanu PF)
Higher Education – Stan Mudenge (Zanu PF)
Local Government – Ignatius Chombo (Zanu PF)
Lands and Land Resettlement – Herbert Murerwa (Zanu PF)
Home Affairs – Kembo Mohadi (Zanu PF) and Giles Mutsekwa (MDC-T)
Women’s Affairs – Olivia Muchena (Zanu PF)
Mines – Obert Mpofu (Zanu PF)
Tourism – Walter Mzembi (Zanu PF)
Information and Publicity – Webster Shamu (Zanu PF)
Youth Development – Savior Kasukuwere (Zanu PF)
Environment – Francis Nhema (Zanu PF)
Justice – Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu PF)
Foreign Affairs – Simbarashe Mumbengegwi (Zanu PF)
Finance – Tendai Biti (MDC-T)
Information Communications Technology – Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T)
Science and Technology – Heneri Dzinotyiwei (MDC-T)
Public Service – Elphas Mukonoweshuro (MDC-T)
Energy and Power Development – Elias Mudzuri (MDC-T)
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs – Eric Matinenga (MDC-T)
Labour – Pauline Mpariwa (MDC-T)
Water Resources – Joel Gabbuza (MDC-T)
Health – Henry Madzorera (MDC-T)
State Enterprises – Samuel Sipepa Nkomo (MDC-T)
National Housing – Fidelis Mhashu (MDC-T)
Economic Planning and Development – Elton Mangoma (MDC-T)
Public Works – Theresa Makone (MDC-T)