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Cabinet reshuffle raises eyebrows

By Richard Muponde

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Friday Cabinet reshuffle has raised questions about the ruling party’s intentions on the Unity Accord and pacifying Matabeleland, analysts have said.

Mnangagwa removed Cain Mathema from the Home Affairs ministry and replaced him with his close ally Kazembe Kazembe, which means that for the first time since the peace agreement was signed in 1987, there is no former Zapu member representative in the security cluster.

During Robert Mugabe’s era, former Zapu members were often given the Home Affairs ministry.

Vice-President Kembo Mohadi was appointed State Security minister during Mugabe’s last days in power after the Home Affairs portfolio was given to Ignatius Chombo.

The Unity Accord was signed between the two parties to end the Gukurahundi massacres in the Midlands and Matabeleland where the North Korean trained 5th Brigade was accused of killing at least 20 000 people, mainly Zapu supporters.

Ibbo Mandaza, the Southern Africa Political Economy Series executive director, said the Unity Accord no longer mattered to Zanu PF.

“They have since forgotten about that. “They are now doing as they wish,” he said.

“There’s no more PF Zapu factor in Zanu PF. They are no longer following that norm.”

Former Zapu officails still in Zanu PF, including the ruling party’s secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu were not eager to talk about the reshuffle when contacted for comment yesterday.

“Don’t talk to me about that issue,” Mpofu said. “Talk to other people.”

Mathema went ballistic, saying it was not a constitutional provision that former Zapu members should be included in the security cluster.

He charged: “Where was it written in the Unity Accord? Is it written in the constitution? If not, why then talk about it?”

Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana said there was nothing sinister about the appointments as Zimbabwe was a unitary state.

“The president exercises his prerogative to pick and deploy any Zimbabwean he believes will help him deliver on his mandate,” Mangwana said.

“This is what he did in the recent Cabinet reshuffle. In this case, the Unity Accord does not play a role.”

“There’s nothing in the Unity Accord about this and any past trend is coincidental.

“I am not sure what the Home Affairs portfolio has to do with the southern region.

“People should not make up divisive rules in their minds and then expect a whole president to implement that product of their fertile imagination.”

In 2008, the late former Home Affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa led a number of Zapu officials in ditching Zanu PF after complaining about the ruling party’s alleged disregard of the Unity Accord.

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