'Sheer lunacy': Zimbabweans mock cabinet reshuffle

2017-10-10 13:16

Harare - Zimbabweans on Tuesday took to social media to pour scorn on a cabinet reshuffle announced by President Robert Mugabe late on Monday.

The cabinet changes are seen as weakening the influence of perceived Mugabe successor, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and strengthening the hand of the G40 faction aligned to First Lady Grace Mugabe.

Mnangagwa was stripped of his oversight of the justice ministry. Two of his perceived political allies were dropped from the cabinet: war veterans minister Tshinga Dube, and labour minister Prisca Mupfumira. Mupfumira was replaced by Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao.

Mugabe succession

Commented former finance minister Tendai Biti on Twitter:

But Zimbabweans are asking at what cost to the country? The replacement of Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa with Ignatius Chombo, the former home affairs minister who has no proven expertise in finance, sparked the most ire.

"The old man appears to have totally lost the plot – as bad as Finance Minister Chinamasa was, to replace him with Chombo is sheer lunacy," commented opposition politician and former education minister, David Coltart.

'This is a disaster'

Chombo is also the ruling party’s secretary for administration. With elections looming in 2018, there are fears that Chombo will be prioritising the party’s finances ahead of the country’s.

"This is a disaster. All ZANU-PF activities and campaign budget is now going to be bank-rolled by tax payers' money," commented a reader of the state-run Herald in an online post. 

Some saw a funny side to Chinamasa’s demotion to minister of a brand new portfolio of Cyber Security. There were numerous references to his new job as "National WhatsApp Administrator".

Others aren't laughing quite so hard though. The creation of the ministry comes at a time the government is preparing to introduce a Computer Crime and Cybersecurity Bill in parliament that rights lawyers say, if passed, will curtail freedom of expression online.

Social media is a place where robust criticism of Mugabe’s government currently takes place.

Death of social media?

Activist, Silvanos Mudzvova sounded a note of caution:

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  social networks  |  southern africa

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