Mnangagwa expected to announce cabinet during inauguration

Mnangagwa is being sworn in following former President Robert Mugabe’s forced exit on Tuesday and the end of Zanu-PF’s faction, the G40 Cabal.

People gather outside Harare's airport to welcome former Zimbabwean vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa on November 22, 2017 in Harare. Picture: AFP

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s incoming interim president Emmerson Mnangagwa is on Friday expected to announce his cabinet after his inauguration ceremony at the Zimbabwean National Stadium.

Mnangagwa is being sworn in following former President Robert Mugabe’s forced exit on Tuesday and the end of Zanu-PF’s faction, the G40 Cabal.

Zanu-PF’s Nick Mangwana says he believes Mnangagwa’s transformation team will ignite a new era for the country.

Last week’s military takeover of government saw the detention of certain Zanu-PF cabinet ministers purported to be corrupt influences around Mugabe.

Following Mugabe’s resignation on Tuesday, reports have emerged that two of these ministers in Saviour Kasukuwere and Jonathan Moyo have left the county.

Zanu-PF expelled a quarter of Mugabe’s 40 strong cabinet for their alleged role in the party’s faction, the G40 Cabal, perceived to be Grace Mugabe sympathisers.

The finance, education and local government departments are just some ministries expected to be filled by Mnangagwa.

Despite discussions between Zanu-PF and opposition party the MDC to strike a deal which would see a government of national unity implemented, Mangwana says the party will not choose this option.

IMMUNITY DEAL

While Zimbabweans prepare for the swearing in of Mnangagwa, details of the deal which saw Mugabe being granted immunity in exchange for his resignation remain sketchy.

Mugabe appeared to be resisting mounting pressure to relinquish his seat in the highest office of the land, but the promise of immunity and security was enough to seal the deal.

News of Mugabe’s resignation came as parliamentarians debated a motion to impeach him on Tuesday.

As the nation prepares to usher in a new era at the swearing of the incoming interim president, it emerged on Thursday that Mugabe and his wife Grace would be granted immunity and will be allowed to remain in Zimbabwe.

While many Zimbabweans remain grateful to the outgoing president for his role in liberating the country from colonial rule, they are less sympathetic towards his wife.

BLOODSHED OF 1980s

Rebuilding a shattered economy and restoring investor confidence will be at the top of the agenda for Mnangagwa, who carries his own baggage after decades of service to Mugabe, who was widely accused of resorting to human rights abuses and election-rigging.

Mnangagwa earned the nickname “Ngwena”, Shona for crocodile, an animal famed and feared in Zimbabwean lore for stealth and ruthlessness.

He backed Mugabe’s economic nationalism, especially a drive to force foreign firms to hand majority stakes to local blacks, suggesting he may not be the pro-market pragmatist many investors have been hoping for.

Most controversially, he was in charge of internal security in the mid-1980s when Mugabe deployed a crack North Korean-trained brigade against rebels loyal to his rival Joshua Nkomo.

Rights groups say 20,000 civilians, mostly from the Ndebele tribe, were killed. Mugabe denies genocide or crimes against humanity but has admitted it was a “moment of madness”.

Mnangagwa’s role remains shrouded in mystery.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change said it was cautiously optimistic a Mnangagwa presidency would not “mimic and replicate the evil, corrupt, decadent and incompetent Mugabe regime”.

Zimbabwe’s bourse, which had been on a rapid rise, lost $6 billion during this month’s military intervention as its main index fell by 40%. Analysts say it will fall even further before recovering.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)