Emmerson Mnangagwa packs ‘recycled’ cabinet with soldiers

New Zimbabwean president gives top posts to senior soldiers and party loyalists

Mugabe Mnangagwa
Former president Robert Mugabe (L) with the man who would go on to replace him, former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Zimbabwe’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has appointed senior military figures to key positions in his 22-member cabinet.

Mnangagwa yesterday named army Major General Sibusiso Moyo - who appeared on state TV to announce the recent military takeover that resulted in the change in leadership - as the new foreign minister, the BBC reports. The head of Zimbabwe’s air force, Perence Shiri, becomes minister of agriculture and land affairs.

However, the new president kept a sizeable number of ministers from his predecessor Robert Mugabe’s former cabinet - many of them veterans of the ruling Zanu-PF party.

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Mugabe, 93, ruled for nearly four decades before sacking Mnangagwa, his deputy, in November following rumours that Mnangagwa was plotting to take power with the backing of the military.

Mnangagwa fled the country following his sacking, but returned to “a hero's welcome” after the military launched a coup to remove Mugabe from power and replace him with Mnangagwa. Zimbabweans nationwide have celebrated the change of leadership, which they hope will shake up the political system.

But according to the BBC’s Africa correspondent Andrew Harding, the cabinet line-up isn’t the new beginning that many hoped for.

“Some of Mr Mugabe’s old allies have been removed, but other controversial and long-serving ministers are back in key jobs. Some call that stability. Others, a missed opportunity.”

News site VOA Africa says the move was seen by many as “an attempt to reward the military and war veterans for removing former president Robert Mugabe from power”.

Zimbabwean newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube told the BBC: “Largely the same people that caused this crisis have been recycled. The honeymoon comes to an end and reality dawns.”

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