HARARE, July 6, 2015 – President Robert Mugabe late on Monday reshuffled his cabinet, officially demoting his spin-doctor Jonathan Moyo to the less prestigious,but quieter education portfolio in what analysts view as a factional re-alignment exercise, ending months of speculation after a ruthless purge of perceived enemies in Zanu (PF).
Misheck Sibanda, the chief secretary to the President and Cabinet, confirmed the reshuffle at 430pm.
Moyo, who was two weeks ago temporarily dropped from Cabinet after his election as the new legislator for Tsholotsho North, was sworn-in together with Nyasha Chikwinya and Ambrose Muthinhiri.
Chikwinya comes from the blue to assume the Women’s Affairs portfolio while Muthinhiri becomes the Mashonaland East Minister of State for Provincial Affairs but does not sit in cabinet.
The fire-brand Moyo, the first to be sworn in late Monday afternoon, was dropped from the portfolio of the ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services to the ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education after an eventful 19-months period in which he launched IMPI as well as engaged in robust media wars with his adversaries in both Zanu PF and the opposition MDC-T.
Critics are adamant Moyo’s deployment is nothing short of a demotion after incessant complaints within the faction-riddled Zanu PF the seemingly ambitious Moyo used the state media, which he firmly control as the minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, to fight his own internecine factional wars within the faction-riddled party.
He was accused of cherry-picking state editors he then went to use to fight his adversaries in the party.
Prisca Mupfumira, the minister of public service, is the acting minister of minister of Information and Broadcasting Services.
In another shocking move, Mugabe moved long-serving minister of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi to the portfolio of minister of State Security, paving the way for his home-boy Ignatius Chombo, the other long-serving minister of Local Government and Urban Development.
Saviour Kasukuwere, the Zanu PF national commissar, has stepped into the shoes of Chombo while Oppah Muchinguri, the former Women League boss who made way for Mugabe’s wife, Grace, assumed Kasukuwere’s former post, minister of Water, Environment and Climate.
This is the second time Mugabe has tinkered with his cabinet after firing former vice president Joice Mujuru in December last year and purging more than 150 officials, including former Zanu PF secretary for administration and former party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo.
But critics say the reshuffle is more of the same as the cabinet is still packed with dead-wood which is clueless in resuscitating the ailing economy.
MDC Renewal T spokesperson, Jacob Mafume, described the reshuffle as a non-event, which would do little to revive the comatose economy which has seen the generality of Zimbabweans sinking into abject poverty daily.
“What Mugabe is doing is changing the curtains and chairs in a sinking ship,” said Mafume. “Mugabe and his cabinet have become the undertakers of the people’s livelihoods and aspirations. They have turned state house into a mortuary or grave yard and we have become the ghosts of their failed economic policies …we are doomed to suffer in the hell they have created of this country.”