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Mnangagwa to axe bigwigs





President Emmerson Mnangagwa is planning to make further changes to his Cabinet after last Friday's mini-reshuffle that saw some ministers being redeployed and new deputies appointed, it has emerged.

Mnangagwa appointed Kazembe Kazembe as the new Home Affairs minister to replace Cain Mathema, who was moved to the Primary and Secondary Education portfolio.

Paul Mavhima, who was the Primary and Secondary Education minister, was appointed Public Service and Social Welfare minister to replace Sekesai Nzenza, who was shunted to the Industry and Commerce ministry, a portfolio previously held by Mangaliso Ndlovu.

Ndlovu replaced Prisca Mupfumira in the Environment, Climate Change and Tourism ministry after she was fired for alleged corruption.

Mnangagwa created a new ministry of National Housing and appointed an additional five deputy ministers.

Zanu-PF insiders said the reshuffle was meant to deal with growing concerns in theruling party that the president had concentrated power in the Midlands.

Mnangagwa was also under pressure to pacify Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga's supporters, the sources said.

They revealed that the second reshuffle expected anytime will see the president dropping some ministers from his Cabinet and reassigning others.

Presidential Affairs minister Jorum Gumbo, who is being investigated by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission over the botched Zimbabwe Airways deal and other scandals is said to be one of the bigwigs facing an uncertain future.

"The changes are motivated by the president's desire to consolidate power and do tribal balancing more than performance," the source said.

"There are a lot of political reasons why three people from Mashonaland East, Chiwenga's home province were appointed."

Mnangagwa appointed Murehwa North MP Daniel Garwe as the National Housing and Social Amenities minister, Hwedza North MP David Musabayana as the new Foreign Affairs deputy minister and Hwedza South MP Tinoda Machakarika as the new Youth and Sport deputy minister. They all hail from Mashonaland East.

Chiwenga, who is in China where he has been receiving treatment for several months, is said to be leading a faction in Zanu-PF and is angling to take over from Mnangagwa.

The faction is said to be unhappy about the fact that most ministers in the Cabinet appointed by Mnangagwa after last year's elections were either from Midlands or Masvingo provinces.

Besides ministers, a number of permanent secretaries and directors appointed after Mnangagwa took over from the late Robert Mugabe following a coup in 2017 are from the Midlands.

"Mnangagwa is realising that most of the people he has been appointing are from the Midlands," another source added. "He now wants to decentralise power to balance in preparation for his re-election campaign in 2023."

Mnangagwa's spokesperson George Charamba yesterday said the president had the prerogative to appoint people he feels suit his vision.

Charamba said there was no way the president could make changes that weakened him.

He quipped, "So they expect the president to dismantle [his power]?"

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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