Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa gives key cabinet jobs to military figures

Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa gives key cabinet jobs to military figures

- in News, World News

Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa has named his cabinet, appointing senior military figures to high-profile positions.

Mr Mnangagwa has made Sibusiso Moyo, the general who appeared on state TV after the recent military takeover, the new foreign minister.

The head of Zimbabwe’s air force, Perence Shiri, was named the minister of agriculture and land affairs.

Mr Mnangagwa was sworn in last week after Robert Mugabe agreed to resign.

The man who ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years stepped down after the military intervened following the sacking of Mr Mnangagwa as vice-president.

It’s not the radical break with the past that some had hoped for. Some of Mr Mugabe’s old allies have been removed, but other controversial and long-serving ministers are back in key jobs. Some call that stability. Others, a missed opportunity.

Opposition politicians have condemned the new cabinet as a betrayal of the public’s hopes, and proof that the security forces – so powerful under Mr Mugabe – remain in charge of the country.

The mood of reconciliation and unity that flourished in recent days looks set to be replaced by a more familiar struggle for power in next year’s elections.

While the new president has chosen to keep many of Mr Mugabe’s former cabinet ministers in office, Mr Mnangagwa has also awarded positions to military leaders who have previously supported him.

Aside from Mr Moyo and Mr Shiri, leaders of the powerful war veterans’ association, who pushed for Mr Mugabe to go after the military intervention, also got cabinet jobs.

Chris Mutsvangwa, who heads the group, is now in charge at the information ministry.

The appointments led government critic Tendai Biti to suggest that Zimbabweans were “wrong” to have hoped for change.

Perence Shiri is a figure notorious for having led the military operation against opponents of Mr Mugabe in Matabeleland in the early 1980s.

The operation resulted in the killing of an estimated 20,000 civilians.

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