President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s new Cabinet has been well-received after his bold decision to bring in technocrats who are not necessarily politicians and the more to drop deadwood.
Zimbabweans had become accustomed to Cabinet lists that were littered with non-performers that were always being rewarded for loyalty.
Friday’s announcement was different and the largely positive reaction by ordinary people did not come as a surprise.
Mnangagwa bowed to demands to drop the likes of Obert Mpofu, Patrick Chinamasa, David Parirenyatwa, Josaya Hungwe, Simon Khaya Moyo and Supa Mandiwanzira, to name but a few.
The relics from the Robert Mugabe era were more of a burden than assets in the previous government and the president must be applauded for putting national interests ahead of narrow party politics.
It was also brave on the part of Mnangagwa to bring in former African Development Bank vice-president Mthuli Ncube as Finance minister.
The economy, which suffered immensely under the last two decades of Mugabe’s ruinous rule, desperately needed a minister who commands respect both at home and globally.
Ncube, an economics professor from the University of Cambridge and a former banker in Zimbabwe, fits that bill perfectly.
There was intense lobbying by ordinary Zimbabweans soon after the July 31 elections for Mnangagwa to take onboard experts such as Ncube to run Treasury and it would appear the president was listening.
Other newcomers with impressive track records in their respective areas of expertise that were included in the new Cabinet are Sekai Nzenza (Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Kirsty Coventry (Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation) and Mangaliso Ndlovu (Industry and Commerce).
Expectations are high that the newcomers will make an immediate impact by initiating badly needed reforms in these key ministries that have a huge bearing on the livelihoods of ordinary Zimbabweans.
However, as we celebrate the appointments, we should not lose focus on the fact those individuals cannot perform miracles if the infrastructure they depend on to perform their duties does not allow them to flourish.
The new government will succeed or fail as a collective. Mnangagwa, as the captain of the ship, has to create the necessary environment for his team to perform. He has been in government long enough to know what is required for ministers to thrive.
Mnangagwa was a key member of government at the turn of the millennium where Mugabe brought in technocrats such as Nkosana Moyo and Joseph Made in a desperate attempt to reverse an economic collapse.
Moyo did not last long because he was frustrated by the government’s poor work ethic and failure to uphold the rule of law.
Those who stuck by Mugabe such as Made soon became immersed in the Zanu PF way of doing things and in the end, their track record compared well with that of the worst Cabinet ministers Zimbabwe has ever had.
A similar fate awaits the likes of Ncube, Nzenza, Ndlovu and Coventry if the president does not provide the leadership expected from him.
Zimbabwe’s long-suffering citizens are eagerly waiting for the new government to lead the way in finding solutions for crippling cash shortages, and the frequent outbreak of mediaeval diseases such as cholera and typhoid, among other myriad of problems.