By Amos Maseko
Harare, September 18, 2013 – MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday unveiled a 21 member shadow cabinet lineup from a pool of his party loyalists who will be tasked with keeping President Robert Mugabe’s administration under check.
Drawn from a broad range of talents across his party, the new shadow cabinet includes party politicians some of whom are legislators who won in the disputed July harmonized elections.
The list involves jailed party deputy national chairperson Morgan Komichi, whom Tsvangirai seconded to the Energy and Power Development ministry. Komichi is accused interfering with the country’s voting processes during the July elections.
At a party press briefing held Wednesday in the capital, the former Prime Minister appointed former State Enterprises Minister Gorden Moyo to be shadow minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Nkulumane legislator Thamsanqa Mahlangu heads the Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources portfolio.
Party secretary-general and former Finance Minister Tendai Biti Finance is the shadow Minister for Finance and Economic Development, former deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire will be in charge of Defence, while newly elected MP Ruth Labode will superintend over the Health and Child Welfare ministry.
First time legislator Concillia Chinanzvavana, who was a victim of state sponsored abduction in 2008 becomes the shadow Minister for the Basic Education portfolio and Dr Peter Matarutse was named the party’s shadow Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology.
Former Local Government Minister Sesel Zvidzai becomes shadow Minister for the same portfolio, with Warren Park legislator Elias Mudzuri heading the Transport shadow ministry.
Former Information Communication Technology Minister, Nelson Chamisa will be in charge of the Communications portfolio) with party deputy organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe heading the Mines and Minerals Development shadow ministry. Former Water Resources Minister Sipepa Nkomo leads the Agriculture, Land and Water Development shadow ministry while former Justice and Legal Affairs deputy Minister Jessie Majome will be in charge of the ministry of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
To complete the cast of MDC-T shadow ministers, new MP Lilian Timveos leads Home Affairs with former Investment Promotion Minister Tapiwa Mashakada heading the Industry and Commerce shadow ministry while former Social Welfare Minister Paurina Mpariwa will take charge of the Labour, Employment and Social Security portfolio.
Former Public Service Minister Lucia Matibenga now heads the Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development portfolio while party youth assembly leader Solomon Madzore will lead the Youth, Sport, Arts & Culture shadow ministry). Former Public Works Minister Joel Gabbuza will in charge of Public Works and National Housing.
Tsvangirai also seconded to a party Planning Commission former ministers and losing party candidates Jameson Timba, Theresa Makone, Tongai Matutu, Elton Mangoma and party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora.
Tsvangirai said he will not replicate some of President Robert Mugabe’s controversial appointments to the country’s substantive cabinet. These include Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs.
Meanwhile, the MDC-T founding leader on Wednesday vowed that he will not bow down to newspaper editorials and Zanu PF calls for him to relinquish his post as MDC-T leader.
Tsvangirai is viewed as having fluffed his third attempt to dislodge President Mugabe as leader.
He dismissed similar calls fronted by his exiled former aide Roy Bennett who has taken to social media to demand his ouster.
“Our policy towards social media is that you can make comments about your own personal communication but party policies are articulated through the party spokesperson. So any comment that may be made at a personal level of party issues, it’s irresponsible, it’s unnecessary,” he said.
The MDC founding leader virtually opened debate to his party’s succession debate.
“…there is no sacred issue to debate if there is need for leadership renewal we don’t suppress it, we actually encourage it. But you can’t just wake up in the streets and say ‘Tsvangirai must go’, there are processes that should be instituted and there are forums that will make that decision and one of those forums is a congress.
Tsvangirai insisted he would see through his five-year mandate earned at a party congress in 2011.
“For somebody to ask me to abandon the responsibility and mandate l was given only two years ago is not only irresponsible on my part it is a betrayal of the people’s expectations and aspirations,” he said.