“As PrimeMinister and President of MDC,” Tsvangirai said this during amedia briefing at his party’s headquarters in Harare Wednesday, “I have just completed a comprehensive review of the performance of thegovernment, and in particular of my office and those ministers who represent my party.
“As a result, I have decided on a number of changes needed to strengthen the performance of the MDC in government and outside government, in order to deliver real change to the people of Zimbabwe.”
Those affected were two substantive ministers were Elias Mudzuri, who relinquished his post as Energy and Power Development minister to Elton Mangoma while Fidelis Mhashu, responsible for National Housingand Social Amenities has been replaced by Giles Mutsekwa, formerly co-minister of Home Affairs.
They were joined by two deputy ministers Thamsanqa Mahlangu, Youth Development and Indeginisation who was replaced by outspoken Masvingo MP Tongai Matutu and Evelyne Masaiti whose ministry has been re-assigned to Jessie Majome, who was deputy minister of Justice.
Majome has been replaced by MDC senator Obert Gutu.
Jameson Timba, who was deputy minister of Media, Information and Publicity, will replace Gorden Moyo as minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Moyo will in turn replace Joel Gabuza as Minister of State enterprises and parastatals.
Tsangirai further elevated party deputy secretary general Tapiwa Mashakada to the position of Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, a post that was occupied by Elton Mangoma.
Southerton MP Gift Chimanikire, has been elevated to Mines and Mining Development, replacing Murisi Zvizai who now takes over from Timba as deputy minister of Information.
Theresa Makone, who was Minister of Public Works, will replace Mutsekwa as Minister of Home Affairs.
Tsvangirai said the move has been agreed with President Robert Mugabe who is Thursday expected to swear in the new ministers at State House.
Tsvangirai vehemently denied claims the axing of ministers and the shifting of portfolios was a move by his faction to neutralize a faction said to be controlled by party secretary general and Zimbabwe’s Finance minister Tendai Biti ahead of the MDC’s elective congress next year.
Tsvangirai and Biti have both denied any simmering power squabbles between them.
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai has adamantly refused to assign a new minister into Roy Bennett’s post, saying the post of deputy minster of agriculture shall remain vacant until a raging dispute over his swearing in is resolved.
“I have appointed Roy Bennett as a designate deputy minister of agriculture. It is still vacant. I am sorry to say that it still remains a disputed area in spite of the commitment by President Mugabe that when Bennett is acquitted, he will be sworn in,” he said.
“So because this matter has not been concluded. It is still an outstanding issue together with provincial governors which matters have been referred to President Zuma.”
Tsvangirai denied he was shortchanging his party by keeping Bennett’s post vacant, 15 months into the new coalition administration.
“I am not short changing the party but I am saying that no one has a veto over who I appoint and in this case I have appointed him as minister of agriculture and it will remain so until this matter isresolved.”
Bennett was in April this year acquitted of a terrorism charge but still remains on the sidelines after the state appealed against the ruling.
President Mugabe has adamantly blocked his appointment into cabinet saying he should first clear his name with the courts before he can accept him in cabinet.