Tsvangirai fires four ministers

Zimbabwe’s prime minister fired four top Cabinet ministers and

shifted a fifth to a new post today, saying they failed a performance review

after 16 months of troubled power sharing.

All those involved were from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

Tsvangirai has no power over ministers from President Robert

Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party in a unity government forged last year after disputed

national elections in 2008.

The Tsvangirai politician who shared the police ministry with a

Zanu-PF official was shuffled to the housing ministry and the previous housing

minister was dismissed. The ministers of energy, women and youth were also

dismissed.

Tsvangirai told reporters that the slow pace of restoring law and

order, rehabilitating power infrastructure and achieving democratic reforms in

general led to “a loss of confidence in the new administration among the

electorate”.

“As a result, I have decided on a number of changes needed to

strengthen the performance of the MDC in government and outside government,” he

said of the first shuffle since he took office in February last year.

Mugabe rarely fires his ministers, most of them longtime Zanu-PF

loyalists.

Several Zanu-PF politicians have survived corruption allegations

over the three decades Mugabe has been in power in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai said despite continuing disputes between the MDC and

Zanu-PF, which have paralysed much of the government, Zimbabwe had seen

improvements in the economy, health and education.

He said the coalition was “the most practical means of moving

forward and halting the needless suffering of the people”.

Mugabe was scheduled to swear in Tsvangirai’s new appointments on

Thursday.

Theresa Makone, a powerful Tsvangirai aide, will take over the

police ministry post.

Tsvangirai said Roy Bennett, a top aide recently cleared of treason

charges, was still his choice for deputy agriculture ministry.

Mugabe has refused to swear in Bennett.
 
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