Harare, March 16, 2014-Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo has castigated sections of the media for peddling speculative stories that Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa is set to be dismissed from his post,
saying such reports smack of “reckless propaganda” as Chinamasa has performed well in his portfolio so far.
In a statement last night, Prof Moyo said the reports alleging an imminent Cabinet reshuffle were being sponsored by some elements harbouring corrupt personal ambitions.
He said the nation should not be derailed from tackling rampant corruption which has worked against economic turnaround.
“Over the last three or so weeks, some sections of the media have been peddling a speculative and reckless story which has been shockingly personalised to allege that there is a looming Cabinet reshuffle whose specific purpose is to remove the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Patrick Chinamasa, from his post under the propaganda that he is allegedly failing to turn around the economy and to mobilise resources to underwrite salary increments for civil servants,” he said.
“The poverty of this self-indulgent propaganda, which went into overdrive and reached unacceptable proportions this past week, is exposed and negated by the fact that Cabinet appointments and Cabinet reshuffles are an exclusive Constitutional prerogative of His Excellency the President, Robert Mugabe.
“It is a matter of the public record that President Mugabe does not and will never discharge this Constitutional prerogative via the media or any speculation or rumour. It is irresponsible and even corrupt for anyone to try and second guess the President on this matter or, worse, to try and influence him through baseless media speculation.”
Prof Moyo said suggestions that Minister Chinamasa will be replaced by former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono “can only be believed by an idle mind”.
He said the propaganda on the “Cabinet reshuffle” was being sponsored by “some dangerously ambitious interests”.
“In this connection, the frenzy media speculation about an allegedly looming Cabinet reorganisation supposedly intended to reshuffle the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Cde Chinamasa, allegedly in favour of the former Governor of the Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono, can only be believed by an idle mind that is wont to believe anything.
“What is tellingly clear and unfortunate is that the speculation of an impending Cabinet reshuffle targeting the Minister of Finance is shameless propaganda sponsored by some dangerously ambitious interests whose recklessness against the country’s economic and security interests knows no bounds.
“While ambition is not a crime, and while there can be no doubt that the media has a Constitutional right to freedom of expression, it is nevertheless necessary for those with ambition to be ministers of finance, or to be whatever else they want to be, to also show that they are responsible people deserving of the public trust; and for the media to ensure that its speculative reports are contextual, complete and balanced without being misrepresented as factual.”
The minister added that there was general consensus that Minister Chinamasa has done well so far. “It is common cause that an important strategic feature of Cabinet, and indeed Government itself, is the principle of collective responsibility.
“Whereas more and better still needs to be done, as it will be, in the implementation of Zim Asset, the centrepiece of Government policy, there is a consensus among well-meaning opinions in the key sectors of the economy; particularly in agriculture, banking and finance that Minister Chinamasa has thus far done a sterling job in refocusing economic policy, restoring national confidence and mobilising resources under the direction of President Mugabe,” said Prof Moyo.
“For example, prospects of a bumper harvest are very high after Minister Chinamasa successfully led the mobilisation of some $180 million between October and November 2013 to support cropping and livestock production for the 2013 / 2014 season.
“This massive support that is equivalent to the trailblazing 1981 levels coincided with the opening up of the heavens last December whose heavy rainfall means that this is definitely a winning agricultural season in terms of food security and nutrition, a key cluster of Zim Asset.”
The minister added: “Also, it is self-evident that confidence and sanity have returned to the banking sector as the Central Bank begins to assume its traditional role as a monetary authority. Investment inquiries are currently at a record high, thanks in large part to the soundness and clarity of key economic policies outlined in Minister Chinamasa’s 2014 budget statement in favour of the New Economy sought by Zim Asset.
“Minister Chinamasa has led the implementation of the new economic policy against the backdrop of inherited circumstances and bottlenecks some of whose challenges and difficulties were in fact created by the very same negatively ambitious interests that are now sponsoring false and harmful speculation about a looming Cabinet reshuffle whose purpose is allegedly personalised against the very same Minister of Finance, who is clearly doing his best.
“The bottom line is that through the Minister of Finance, Chinamasa, and under the direction of President Mugabe, Government has thus far stayed the course and the positive results are beginning to show as the implementation of Zim Asset gains fresh momentum ahead of what is promising to be a bumper harvest this year.
“And let’s face it, the number one enemy against the necessary economic turnaround, including against mobilising salary increments for civil servants, is not Minister Chinamasa but rampant corruption highlighted by salarygate and the fraudulent procurement practices by executive managers and their cronies in State enterprises, parastatals and local authorities.
“It is important that we all remain fixed in our collective commitment to rid our country of this scourge without being derailed by useless speculation about an allegedly looming Cabinet reshuffle sponsored by some elements that are manifestly harbouring corrupt personal ambitions that are neither in the public nor national interest.”