Security Minister Goche demoted over spy ring
Goche was replaced by one of Mugabe's most loyal lieutenants Didymus Mutasa, previously the Anti-Corruption Minister.
Exactly two weeks after winning a hotly disputed election, Mugabe also made key changes in the Foreign Affairs Ministry and also rewarded some Zanu PF MPs who managed to wrest seats from the opposition.
Mugabe appointed former ambassador to Britain Simbarashe Mumbengegwi as foreign minister, while the key post of information minister went to Tichaona Jokonya, a former ambassador to the United Nations and most recently chief executive of Zimbabwe's state tourism body.
Acting Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa, who has helped slow the country's economic slide since taking up the job last year, was allowed to keep his portfolio. He takes over from incacerated Chris Kuruneri who is awaiting trial on charges of externalising foreign currency and holding dual citizenship.
Former Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa, once seen as Mugabe's preferred successor but sidelined in a ruling party power struggle late last year, was given a relatively low-profile job as Minister for Rural Housing and Social Amenities.
As correctly predicted here on Monday, there were also ministerial positions for former Manicaland governor Major General Michael Nyambuya and newly-elected Bubi/Umguza MP Obert Mpofu who take charge of the Energy and Power Development and the Industry and International Trade portfolios.
Goche was implicated in a spy scandal in which senior intelligence and government officials were accused of selling State secrets to hostile foreign governments. Mugabe's nephew Phillip Chiyangwa was arrested in December last year with five others including Zanu PF security officials, diplomats and a banker. Chiyangwa was later freed by a judge who said the state charges against him were "vague and imprecise" and did not warrant his continued detention. Three of Chiyangwa's co-accused pleaded guilty and were given sentences of between five and six years in jail.
A senior Zanu PF source said last night: "Goche's demotion is final confirmation something did go on in his ministry over the spy scandal, and unfortunately it doesn't cast him in goold light."
Mugabe also appeared determined to further mobilise and militarise Zimbabwe's youths under the infamous national youth training project, sticking with retired army general Ambrose Mutinhiri as Minister for Youth Development and Employment Creation.
However, the most awaited appointment was that of the Minister of Information following the sacking of Professor Jonathan Moyo whose media management style infuriated media professionals.
Commenting on Jokonya's appointment, political journalist Dumisani Muleya said he was "from the old school of politics which has demonstrated an incapacity to adapt to democratic norms".
He said: "He may be well versed on international relations but his knowledge of the local media and its dynamics is, to say the least, faintly credible. It should also be remembered that Jokonya was deployed to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to try and revamp the country's international image but his mission failed spectacularly. We don't expect anything better from him as Information Minister."
Mugabe, 81, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has been battling a severe political and economic crisis over the last five years which many critics blame on his policies. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party swept 78 seats of the 120 seats contested in the March 31 elections while the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won just 41 seats -- 16 down on its 2000 performance.
One seat went to an independent candidate, former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo.
But a further 30 seats in the 150-member house reserved for presidential appointees and traditional chiefs ensured ZANU-PF got a two-thirds majority.
The MDC has charged ZANU-PF with widespread electoral fraud, allegations that are backed by major Western governments but dismissed by most African observer missions who gave the poll high marks.
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