News ID: 205334
Published: 0306 GMT December 01, 2017

Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa gives key cabinet jobs to military figures

Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa gives key cabinet jobs to military figures

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa named his cabinet, appointing senior military figures to high-profile positions.

Mnangagwa has made Sibusiso Moyo, the general who appeared on state TV after the recent military takeover, the new foreign minister, BBC wrote.

The head of Zimbabwe's air force, Perence Shiri, was named the minister of agriculture and land affairs.

Mnangagwa was sworn in last week after Robert Mugabe agreed to resign.

The man who ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years stepped down after the military intervened following the sacking of Mnangagwa as vice president.

When Mnangagwa swept into power with the help of the military last week, he promised a new era.

But the composition of his new cabinet has drawn some criticism because two military figures have top posts.

Major General Sibusiso Moyo, the face of the military takeover and until then a relatively unknown figure, is the foreign affairs and international trade minister. He holds a PhD in international relations and at one point was the leader of the elite green berets squad.

Air force leader Perence Shiri was a soldier linked to the mass killings of ordinary Zimbabweans in the mid-1980s at the behest of then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe.

The military have had a controversial role in Zimbabwe's politics and had been accused of keeping Mugabe in power.

Just two weeks ago many Zimbabweans were celebrating the so-called people's commander — Gen Constantino Chiwenga — for leading the military takeover which led to the change in leadership. Now they wait to see whether he will be rewarded with a vice presidency.

While the new president has chosen to keep many of Mugabe's former cabinet ministers in office, Mnangagwa has also awarded positions to military leaders who have previously supported him.

Aside from Moyo and Shiri, leaders of the powerful war veterans' association, who pushed for Mugabe to go after the military intervention, also got cabinet jobs.

Chris Mutsvangwa, who heads the group, is now in charge at the information ministry.

The appointments led government critic Tendai Biti to suggest that Zimbabweans were "wrong" to have hoped for change.

"Up until now, we had given the putsch the benefit of the doubt. We did so in the genuine, perhaps naive view that the country could actually move forward. We craved change, peace and stability in our country. How wrong we were," he said.

Newspaper owner Trevor Ncube said the cabinet was "very disappointing".

"Largely the same people that caused this crisis have been recycled. The honeymoon comes to an end and reality dawns. His concern seems to have been rewarding those who brought him to power and Zanu-PF unity," he said.

Perence Shiri is a figure notorious for having led the military operation against opponents of Mugabe in Matabeleland in the early 1980s.

Mnangagwa – who had fled Zimbabwe earlier this month only to return to a hero's welcome – has for decades been part of the country's ruling elite.

His dismissal as vice-president — after he was accused of plotting to take power — led the ruling party and the army to intervene.

On 14 November, army tanks rolled into Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, detaining Mugabe and placing him under house arrest.

The military denied it that was staging a coup and maintained that it was acting against "criminals" surrounding Mugabe.

It came after a power struggle over who might replace the president, with Mnangagwa and Mugabe's wife, Grace, on opposite sides.

   
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