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Mugabe fires 15 ministers – who cares?

Dec 28 2014 12:47
Malcom Sharara
I AM SURE most of us are now aware that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has so far fired 15 ministers and his decade-long deputy and now former Vice President Joice Mujuru.
The Mujuru cabal (the name given to VP Mujuru’s inner circle) were dismissed, officially anyway,  on the grounds that they reneged on their government mandate by expending their energy and time on alleged graft and factional politics where they sought to topple President Mugabe through unprecedented means, including assassination (if you believe in fiction).
For a country that has been in economic decline over the past 17 years, under the guidance of the very same ministers, the dismissals would have been greeted with ululation and jubilation, but alas nobody is taking to the dance floor to celebrate.
Why should we celebrate when we know the firing squad was called in, not on the grounds that the ministers were incompetent, with mounting evidence to that nature, but were only fired for daring to challenge the incumbent president, or position themselves for the post Mugabe era?
These ministers are nothing but opportunists who thought they could back the horse that had a head start since 2004 to take over as president. Their positioning had nothing to do with working and serving the people of Zimbabwe but everything to do with lining their pockets.

Some of the ministers were in  their last positions for less than a year but had already devised schemes to milk parastatals that fall under their ministries. The energy minister and his deputy are a case in point, but I can assure you their case is just a tip of an iceberg.
These ministers are so greedy that on top of their government packages they would get further packs from each and every government entity under their watch.
Some of their total “packages” would make Cuthbert Dube, of the $500 000 a month salarygate scandal, green with envy.   
The energy minister was accused of abusing ZESA Holdings funds to finance Zanu PF factional activities, allegations for which he was fired from government, but we all know that although he was committing crimes against the Zimbabwean populace, the real reason he was fired was aligning himself with those accused of trying to topple Mugabe.
We all know that to Mugabe, loyalty comes first over performance, otherwise some ministers will have no justification for holding ministerial positions, having run down their portfolios to the ground for years.
A comic and yet sad example is that of the agricultural minister Joseph Made, who took to the air in a helicopter around the country and came down declaring that the country was going to have a bumper harvest. It was not a surprise when the outcome was exactly the opposite. How can a responsible minister declare a bumper harvest based on a joy ride in a helicopter?
Well the same minister survived and is still saving in the same position years and years without bringing any food to the table. Maybe my memory is not good but I certainly do not remember an agricultural policy that he came up with for the good of the agricultural sector. New farmers on the ground will attest to that as they have failed to utilise the land due to lack of proper guidance from the minister.
Mugabe himself has on several occasions (make it several years), called his various team of ministers, "the worst cabinet ever", but when the time for change comes there is always appointments for the dead wood and disappointment for the masses. The same ministers are recycled and given important ministries despite glaring evidence of their incompetence.  Some of the ministers are so incompetent that it is actually criminal to give them ministerial posts.
The latest dismissals presented a perfect chance for Mugabe to turn the country’s economy around by appointing competent people, but for the umpteenth time this chance for change has been lost. Mugabe is only interested in rewarding loyalty than getting the economy running again.
Surely the joke is on us when we get a minister of Higher Education who has no academic background to justify her appointment. How is this person going to be able to judge what's good or bad for our education?

The joke is still on us when we get the same dead wood who have been in government for donkey years with nothing to show, as our ministers.

Don’t cry for Mai Mujuru
What has also been disappointing about the whole drama is that a lot of Zimbabweans, including the opposition leaders are sympathising with the sacked former Vice President Joice Mujuru. 

Well I won’t shed a tear for this lady, after all she has been a  government minister for more almost 34 years. Yes she is still young and recently got a doctorate, but I don’t think she has anything to offer to turnaround the fortunes of this country. She was vice president for 10 years, but she failed to influence positive policy change in this country.

No matter how difficult Mugabe is in terms of his thinking, I think as a leader and vice president for that matter, Mujuru should have found a way of convincing the president to change his disastrous policy take. I think she is just as guilty for the state of the economy just like anybody else who has had a chance of holding an influential position in the Mugabe regime.

If Mujuru was a true leader worth shedding a tear for, where was she when fellow ministers grabbed farms that they haven’t  utilised years after taking over? Where was she when the country experienced its worst economic decline?

I can tell you she was right there by Mugabe’s side and is as liable as he is for state of the country’s economy.

- Fin24

* Malcom Sharara is Fin24’s correspondent in Zimbabwe. Views expressed are his own.

robert ­mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  africa economy  |  economy


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