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Tsvangirai names MDC-M MP to Cabinet


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Posted to the web 10/02/2009 12:11:28
MORGAN Tsvangirai made two shock appointments to the Cabinet on Tuesday, naming an MP from a rival MDC faction as Water Resources Development Minister and appointing the controversial Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister for Agriculture.

Abednico Bhebhe is the MP for Nkayi North and drew the ire of his party leader Arthur Mutambara when he voted against the party's candidate, Paul Themba Nyathi, in elections for Speaker of Parliament. Bhebhe voted for the Tsvangirai MDC's pick, Lovemore Moyo.

The MP has been largely ostracised by his party, which has 10 MPs and 6 Senators in Parliament. He has been warned he could be fired from the party, and replaced as MP.

Tsvangirai's appointment of Bennett, a former white commercial farmer from Chimanimani who is bitterly loathed in Zanu PF circles, sets the stage for confrontation with the Agriculture Minister, who will come from President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

Bennett was jailed for eight months in 2004 after pushing former Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa to the floor during a debate in parliament. He fled the country in 2006 to live in South Africa after he was implicated in an alleged plot to kill Mugabe. He only returned to Zimbabwe two weeks ago when prospects of a power sharing government brightened.

Prominent Harare lawyer Eric Matinenga was named Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, making him the key man to lead constitutional reforms which must be concluded within two years.

Giles Mutsekwa, a retired army major and MP for Dangamvura and Chikanga, will take charge of the Home Affairs portfolio. Zanu PF will also appoint a Home Affairs Minister, and the two men must find a way of working together in joint charge of the ministry which is responsible for the police.

Tsvangirai also named Tendai Biti as Finance Minister, a key post. Biti must lead a new regime of financial prudence which will attract outside investment and unlock financial support for the power sharing government from a sceptical West.

Nelson Chamisa, the MDC’s national spokesman assumes the Information and Communications Technology Ministry. The ministry is in charge of the posts and telecommunications sector. Chamisa will be expected to pursue an ambitious programme of computerising the country’s schools, the courts, all government offices and the creation of a police database.

Tsvangirai, who is set to be Prime Minister in a unity government with Mugabe's Zanu PF and Mutambara's MDC faction, said his Cabinet appointees would rebuild the country.

"They are men and women chosen for their vision of healing our nation and bringing not only the spirit of hope to the people of Zimbabwe but also their significant technical skills in the challenging task of restoring our political freedoms," Tsvangirai told reporters.

"This team will be tasked with beginning the process of rebuilding our country during the transition period," he said.

Tsvangirai, Mutambara and Mugabe signed a power-sharing deal on September 15, but the pact quickly stalled over disputes about who would control key ministries.

They only agreed to a deal under intense regional pressure and after lengthy talks mediated by South Africa.

Tsvangirai is set to be sworn in as Prime Minister on Wednesday, with the Cabinet taking office on Friday.

Mutambara and Mugabe are yet to unveil their ministerial appointments to the 31-member Cabinet. But New Zimbabwe.com understands Mutambara, who can name three ministers and one deputy, will pick Welshman Ncube and David Coltart as ministers, with a third ministerial appointment being a toss-up between Priscilla Misihairabwi and Moses Mzila Ndlovu.

The unity government is meant to end months of political turmoil after disputed elections last March, which has left the country mired in political violence and a deepening humanitarian crisis marked by food shortages a raging cholera epidemic.

FULL LIST OF TSVANGIRAI'S MINISTERIAL APPOINTMENTS:

MINISTERS:

Finance – Tendai Biti

Home Affairs – Giles Mutsekwa

Information Communications Technology – Nelson Chamisa

Science and Technology – Heneri Dzinotyiwei

Public Service – Elphas Mukonoweshuro

Energy and Power Development – Elias Mudzuri

Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs – Eric Matinenga

Labour – Pauline Mpariwa

Water Resources – Abednico Bhebhe

Health – Henry Madzorera

State Enterprises – Eddie Cross

National Housing – Fidelis Mhashu

Economic Planning and Development – Elton Mangoma

Public Works – Theresa Makone

DEPUTY MINISTERS:

Deputy Justice Minister – Jessie Majome

Deputy Agriculure Minister – Roy Bennett

Deputy Defence Minister – Innocent Mudzingwa

Tsvangirai will appoint a further three deputy ministers after consultations with Mugabe
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