PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe plans to retain the position of resident minister to ensure trusted lieutenants continue being strategically deployed in provinces, sources have confirmed.
BY OUR STAFF
Sources said although the position of provincial governors would become redundant to make way for new provincial councils, Mugabe wanted to continue appointing his own key point persons in the different provinces.
A senior government official said while the position of governor would no longer exist in accordance with the new Constitution, the charter was silent on the appointment of resident ministers.
Currently, the outgoing provincial governors also double as resident ministers.
“The President [Mugabe] is for retaining governors because they are his point persons in provinces and act as his ears and eyes,” he said.
The official said as some of the new provincial councils such as Bulawayo and Harare would be controlled by MDC-T, Mugabe would not want to be represented at State events by the opposition.
He said the outgoing provincial governors had already been told to stay put and last week presided over the provincial commemorations of Heroes and Defence Forces days.
The official said it would take some time to fully operationalise the provincial councils as the incoming Parliament has to first enact the enabling legislation.
It has also emerged that the provincial councils would not be that powerful as they would still fall under the Ministry of Local Government currently headed by the outgoing Ignatious Chombo.
Funding for the provincial council would also be hard to secure, while the chairperson and members would not get official government status, unlike resident ministers, said the official.
“They [provincial council members] are likely to get allowances similar to what councillors will get. This is why some of the officials who initially wanted to be chairperson of the councils are no longer interested in the positions. They now realise that this is not such a glamorous post after all,” said the official.
However, Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo said it was mere speculation that provincial governors would be retained in another form.
“There is nothing like that. We have made it clear that there is no basis to immediately amend the Constitution. We go by what the Constitution is saying,” he said.
But Mugabe said during the launch of the Zanu PF election manifesto last month that his party reluctantly agreed to the scrapping of the positions of provincial governors.
He hinted that the position of resident minister could be retained, saying it was an easier arrangement after all.