Finance deputy minister Terence Mukupe has said President Emmerson Mnangagwa is finding it hard to appoint a youthful Cabinet, as most young people shy away from politics, leaving him with no option, but to appoint old people as ministers.

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

Addressing students at Nyadire Teachers’ College in Mutoko on Tuesday, Mukupe said when Mnangagwa took over power in November 2017, he had a torrid time in getting a Cabinet of educated youth, as most of them were not in Parliament, forcing him to resort to the old and tired politicians.

“Who knows when we last had a young Cabinet?” he asked, with a student responding, saying “1980”, and Mukupe concurred.

“This is because there are no young educated people in Parliament, who can be appointed as ministers.

“You have to be in the corridors of power for you to be appointed. The current Cabinet is the oldest in the history of Zimbabwe and we have to correct going forward,” he said.

The junior minister has been moving around tertiary institutions addressing students −mostly members of the Zanu PF- aligned student union − Zimbabwe Congress of Students’ Union (Zicosu).

On Tuesday, he was accompanied by Zanu PF secretary for youth affairs, Pupurai Togarepi.

Mukupe said Mnangagwa was geared to win the 2018 elections, but the absence of the youth in politics was worrisome, as this would force the President to choose ministers from a pool of “old tired politicians”.

Togarepi said because young people were reluctant to participate in elections, “uneducated old people would make decisions on their behalf”.

“Because you don’t want to join politics, old people, who have no knowledge of how to solve the current challenges will take key position in government and lead us astray.

“As youth, who are educated, you should strive to be part of the ruling class because you have the knowledge on how to solve the problems we are faced with. When you complain about the calibre of people, who would have been appointed ministers, yet you did not participate in the election process, what do you want the President to do?” he said.

The Zanu PF youth league boss took aim at the opposition for demanding electoral reforms two months before the general elections, saying they failed to do so when they were in the Government of National Unity.

“(The late MDC-T leader) Morgan Tsvangirai had executive powers just like former President (Robert Mugabe), but he failed to push for reforms. Now, because they have realised that Zanu PF is winning, they want to make noise, people must go and campaign for voters and stop this noise-making business,” Togarepi claimed.