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Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa appoints military, party loyalists to cabinet

© Mujahid Safodien, AFP | New interim Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa looks on after he was officially sworn-in during a ceremony in Harare on November 24, 2017.

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-12-01

Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed a new Cabinet that includes ruling party loyalists as well as figures linked to the military, whose takeover helped oust former leader Robert Mugabe.

No opposition politicians are included in the list, which has been seen as the first test of whether Mnangwgwa, a longtime Mugabe ally, would move out of his shadow.

The 22-member Cabinet announced late Thursday on state-run television includes Maj. Gen. Sibusiso Moyo as foreign minister, Air Marshal Perrance Shiri as agriculture minister and Chris Mutsvangwa, leader of Zimbabwe's war veterans, as information minister.

Shiri is directly linked to the Matabeleland killings of thousands of people by a North Korea-trained military brigade in the 1980s when Mugabe moved against a political arival.

Moyo on Nov. 15 announced the military takeover that put Mugabe under house arrest and set in motion a national clamor leading to the former president's resignation after 37 years in power.

Mugabe quit Nov. 21 amid impeachment proceedings. The ruling ZANU-PF party replaced him with Mnangagwa, who was fired weeks ago as one of the country's vice presidents.

The list of Cabinet picks makes no mention of vice presidents.

For some Zimbabweans who had hoped that the new leader would make the Cabinet more inclusive, Thursday night's announcement was seen as a disappointment.

Lawyer Alex Magaisa tweeted a photo of Mugabe and his wife, Grace, laughing with the words "When they saw the new Cabinet."

Former finance minister Tendai Biti tweeted: "The honey moon is over even before it had begun. What a shame. What a missed opportunity."

In an interview earlier with the Associated Press, main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Mnangagwa has a "very small window" to show that he is different from Mugabe and that he is meeting national expectations of change. Tsvangirai added that there has been "no dialogue" with the new leadership.

On Friday, Mnangagwa said the economically struggling country must modernize in order to engage with a "fiercely competitive" world. He delivered the message at a graduation ceremony west of the capital, Harare. As president, he presides over all of Zimbabwe's universities.

Mnangagwa said "the world has grown fiercely competitive" and that Zimbabweans must learn to deliver "finished products" to markets and extract the most "profitability" from the country's natural resources.

Discontent with Zimbabwe's economy was a factor in Mugabe's downfall. Industries have collapsed, unemployment is high and cash shortages are rife.

(AP)

Date created : 2017-12-01

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