FORMER Energy minister Elias Mudzuri yesterday challenged his dismissal from government by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, insisting that he had achieved a lot with minimum resources in a short space of time.
This comes at a time when MDC-T officials said the reshuffle is a move to consolidate people in Tsvangirai’s so-called “kitchen cabinet”.
Mudzuri told the Zimbabwe Independent that he had remained professional and honest during the 16 months he was in government, adding that it was unfortunate that his dismissal came before he had achieved what he had set out to do to improve the country’s energy and power sectors.
“I am not a bitter man. I don’t mean to be fighting people but one day I will be recorded in history and judged by history. Munhu anokumaka ndiye anokupa basa (The person that gives the job is the same person that judges you). But it does not end with one person who marks you but the public,” he said.
“The public will judge as long as democracy exists. If the public say I have failed, then I will accept. It is you the people that judge, you are the referees. If people feel I am suitable, they will judge me. I remained professional and honest. My area is very technical.”
Mudzuri said when assessing ministers, there should be a performance indicator so a person can be judged.
“Personally, I cannot assess myself, but I have done my best in the circumstances. I had no money. I had been trying with little money given to me. I was given only US$10 million for Zesa and there was no petrol when I took over.
“When I took over, power generation was 735 megawatts a day and it has picked up to between 1 100 and 1 200 megawatts a day in any one day. I had also prepared an electricity regulation authority bill.
Another criticism came from women’s affairs deputy Evelyn Masaiti, who was also fired this week together with Housing minister Fidelis Mhashu and deputy youth development minister Thamsanqa Mahlangu, who said she was unhappy with Tsvangirai replacing her with a male colleague when people were talking about gender equality.
Masaiti could not hide her disappointment over the reduced number of female representatives in government. Out of the 13 cabinet posts that MDC-T holds, two are held by women and there is only one female deputy who was redeployed from a powerful Justice ministry to women’s affairs.
“If there were necessary changes, he should have done with gender equality in mind. I was expecting to be replaced by another woman. We were just two deputies but now there is only one – that is the bone of contention that I have,” she said.
“If he saw it fit that I should go back to the party, he should have replaced me with a woman – we are already few. Four members were relocated but not even one female replacement. I am very passionate about gender equality. We are currently advocating for 50-50 representation.”
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai has taken his restructuring exercise to his government office and MDC-T party where he is weeding out staff and clipping the wings of those he views as opposed to his leadership.
Trusting no-one, Tsvangirai is personally executing the restructuring exercise, dubbed “Fresh Start”. The exercise will see some principal directors from the Prime Minister’s office being redeployed to the party.
On Wednesday Tsvangirai met his government office workers and informed them of his decision to recall staff and redeploy others to the party.
He told staff the move was aimed at strengthening both the party and his office ahead of possible elections next year.
“This is the same way he handled the Cabinet reshuffle. He called in ministers one by one to inform them of the reshuffle and their fate. In this case, he personally told the office staff of his intentions,” said a source.
According to reliable party sources, principal directors Abisha Nyanguwo (Social), Emmanuel Chimwanda (Director of Security), Valentine Sinemane (Special Projects) and Lazarus Muriritirwa (Policy Implementation) have been recalled from the PM’s Office.
The Zimbabwe Independent has established that Chimwanda, a former top police officer, will now head the MDC-T security department, which had been dissolved following the suspension of security chief Chris Dhlamini in May.
Nyanguwo will become the MDC-T chief of staff, replacing Chris Mbanga, whose destiny is yet unknown. Nyanguwo will be in charge of the MDC-T secretariat. This newspaper could not establish Muriritirwa and Sinemane’s fate at the time of publishing.
Jameson Timba, the newly appointed Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, will take charge of drawing up a new structure that Tsvangirai expects to be more combative in tackling difficult Zanu PF elements in government, according to the sources.
Tsvangirai is expected to move to Harvest House, the MDC-T headquarters, tomorrow and early next week to implement recommendations of a staff audit carried out by his deputy Thokozani Khupe and party deputy secretary-general Tapiwa Mashakada.
Finer details of the staff audit recommendations were unavailable but sources said operations would be streamlined and that some workers would be asked to leave.
“The staff audit was thorough and all party directors and coordinators were quizzed one by one on their role in the party and how they came to be in their jobs. Heads are expected to roll and the whole point of the exercise is for the president to keep a vulture eye on both the party and his office,” said a source, adding that the restructuring of both the party and PM’s Office followed violent disturbances that rocked the party in April this year that were largely attributed to factionalism.
According to sources, Nyanguwo’s pending appointment would dilute party director-general Toendepi Shonhe’s powers.
Shonhe, whom sources said was grilled for up to four hours by Khupe and Mashakada during the staff audit interviews two weeks ago, had come under scrutiny after violent party youths assaulted him and confiscated his car for allegedly mismanaging party affairs.
He will remain in charge of the administration cluster, but reporting to Nyanguwo. A new cluster to be set up under the restructuring exercise, for policy, research and information, is still vacant.