By Leopold Munhende & Darlington Gatsi
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is, this Thursday, expected to present an analysis of how Cabinet Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and other government and parastatal departmental heads performed over the course past year.
Unlike his predecessor Robert Mugabe, Mnangagwa has apparently shunned reshuffling his cabinet team, with the only ministerial changes forced by alleged individual misdemeanours.
Performance-based contracts were introduced by Mnangagwa last year to ensure maximum productivity within government.
Below is NewZimbabwe.com’s own analysis of 11 of Mnangagwa’s Ministers, ranked from the worst to the best performing.
Zhemu Soda – Energy Minister since August 2020
Soda took over from arguably, one of the best ministers Zimbabweans had in a long-time, Fortune Chasi who had, during his time in office, Chasi managed to deal with an energy crisis that threatened collapse the economy between 2018 -2019.
His replacement, however has struggled to deal with a similar challenge. Zimbabweans are currently having to deal with between 18 and 20 hour load-shedding schedules. Soda has made no known attempts to deal with the matter other than pray for more water in Kariba Dam.
Hwange Power station, as old as it is, continues to be his other hope while ignoring alternative energy sources or at the very least rehabilitation of Bulawayo and Harare power stations.
Soda’s last public appearance was before the festive season where he promised power would be available over the Christmas and New Year holidays. He promised the crisis would have ended come February. We are now towards the end of March and the challenge continues.
Kirsty Coventry – Sports Minister since 2018
The only reason Coventry’s ranking is higher than Soda’s is that her counterpart’s ministry has a considerably higher impact on the lives of Zimbabweans. Her portfolio focuses on sport, arts and youths; very little has been done for youths, with nothing worth talking about being initiated for the arts sector either.
Under Coventry’s watch, little has been channelled to sports development. Her promises to revamp the National Sports Stadium, which was banned from hosting any international matches by FIFA and CAF, have not yet been realised, three years after she made them.
Coventry went as far as saying that bucket seats for the whole 60,000 seater stadium had been procured but, to date, they are yet to be installed.
The country’s most decorated African Olympian’s approach has not earned herself any favours in respect of Zimbabwe’s football in general. The country’s most popular sport was banned last year from international competitions after her interference in its management through the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).
That she has not heeded calls to reinstate the ZIFA board that was removed from office against FIFA statutes has also raised eyebrows especially as the country now risks complete expulsion from membership of the world governing body..
Constantino Chiwenga – Health Minister since the sacking of Obadiah Moyo in July 2020
No one knows what health qualifications Vice President Chiwenga holds to head such a critical and technical ministry.
Health professionals have raised this query, but Mnangagwa seems not to mind his deputy’s apparently lack of academic qualifications or professional experience for the role.
Meanwhile, public hospitals have been run down; Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, Mpilo Hospital, and all general health centres in the provinces have become relics of what they were in colonial Rhodesia.
Zimbabwe has witnessed an unprecedented flight of health personnel as a result of poor remuneration, a general lack of infrastructure investment. a
Chiwenga has also used a hard-line approach since taking over.
Even before he got the role, the vice president fired tens of thousands of nurses who went on strike. Upon taking over, he pushed for introduction of a law that criminalises industrial action beyond three days.
Millions of ordinary Zimbabweans are bearing the brunt for decisions taken at Kaguvi Building, that have left hospitals more of death traps, empty of critical medications and equipment and full of demotivated staff.
Ziyambi Ziyambi – Justice Minister since 2018
Ziyambi has failed to clear allegations of capture levelled against his ministry, the country’s judiciary and relevant officers by political opponents and other aggrieved individuals.
The arrest and prolonged detention of political activists and opposition members and supporters without trial have not done him any favours. Although he can be lauded for efforts in reform, some of the laws have bordered on repression as argued by academics and the civic society.
He has been the face of championing proposed laws such as the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) bill.
The alleged rampant corruption, acknowledged within state circles has not been addressed. For the ordinary citizen justice still remains a pipe dream.
Kazembe Kazembe – Home Affairs Minister since 2018
Despite overseeing the introduction of e-passports, a game changer in the production of the prized document, Kazembe’s ministry is home of to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
The ZRP is Zimbabwe’s is accused of gross human rights abuses. It has led in this front since 2018 with no change or attempts to correct its behaviour.
His ministry has been questioned over the continued closure of democratic space by banning of opposition events and arrests of their activists, who most times are released without charge.
Journalists have also fallen victim to his officers’ over-zealousness.
July Moyo – Local Government since 2018
July Moyo has had a tumultuous tenure at the helm of the Local Government Ministry. Moyo’s clashes with municipalities have superseded any of his efforts in the period under review. Urban municipalities mainly under the opposition have accused Moyo of detrimental interference in their operations.
His acrimonious relationship with councils have spilled into the courts where the High Court Moyo’s wings and ruled he had no right to reverse decisions made by municipalities.
Last year Moyo oversaw the passing of a controversial deal between Harare City Council and Netherlands based company Geogenix BV which recycles waste at Pomona dumpsite.
Tens of millions were set to be lost and still millions were. This is money which could have been invested in provision of clean water for people in Budiriro where taps are just for show.
Illegal land deals have also been a major challenge and he has not been known to be ably sort such issues out.
Mthuli Ncube – Finance Minister since 2018
Mthuli Ncube has had a turbulent period as the finance minister in the period under scrutiny. At the beginning Ncube promised to turn around the fortunes of economy this year however inflation rate has refused to be tamed by his policies.
Last year ended with inflation rate at 280 percent which was one the highest globally. This led to continued decline of living standards for an estimated 7 million people in Zimbabwe.
The Ministry of Finance last year introduced gold coins as a desperate attempt to mop up excess liquidity in the process aiming to preserve savings from the vagaries of inflation.
His policies have been too elitist for the ordinary citizen who is yet to benefit from surpluses he makes a point of claiming every time he sees a camera.
The poor have become poorer and the rich richer under his supervision.
Paul Mavima – Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister since 2019
It is now public knowledge that civil servants are demotivated; their salaries are chicken change for Cabinet Ministers and very little is being done to address their sorry plight.
At less than US$200 per month, government employees are some of the least paid workers in the country.
Mavima’s failures have also affected tens of thousands of pensioners who now spend days in winding bank queues for meagre RTGS which can barely pay for their fares back home.
He has not addressed well publicised cases of corruption at the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and that has added onto the anguish of millions who contribute and contributed for years.
Winston Chitando – Mines Minister since 2018
According to government, the mining sector has grown by 10% from 2021. It has in fact been on an upward trend since 2018.
Chitando, as Mines Minister has overseen massive exploration of oil in the Muzarabani basin and new gold, lithium across the country.
His major challenge has been failure to plug leakages that have cost the country billions in potential revenue. Gold has been smuggled in droves, lithium is allegedly still being smuggled to South Africa and other countries.
Mangaliso Ndlovu – Tourism Minister since November 2019
Mangaliso Ndlovu is arguably one of the performing ministers in Mnangagwa’s cabinet. Ndlovu took over from Sekai Nzenza in 2019. However in his tenure Zimbabwe was hit with virulent Covid-19 which disrupted tourism.
Through a number of interventions such as Visit Zimbabwe and Zim Bho, Zimbabwe is slowly recovering from effects of Covid-19. Zimbabwe generates much of its revenue from tourism with projections for tourists estimated to hover above 2.3 million in 2022.
Ndlovu has used his portfolio to rebrand Zimbabwe as a positive tourism destination after the country’s image had been battered by bad reputation owing to its relations with the Western countries.
1. Monica Mutsvangwa – Information Minister since 2018
Mutsvangwa has arguably been the most successful and engaging Information Minister in decades. She cannot be compared to her predecessors.
Besides introducing weekly post-Cabinet Briefings with journalists, she has overseen licensing of community radio stations across the country and privately-owned television channels (most of which are however yet to go live).
The post-Cabinet Briefings have given journalists easier access to government operations while community radio stations have become central in the dissemination of news in far flung communities.
Her relationship with the media and that of her Permanent Secretary Nick Mangwana have been cordial and less confrontational.
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), one of the Ministry’s parastatals, has however, been accused of partisanship in licensing of TVs and radios. Those who have been given licenses are claimed to either be linked with the ruling elite, Zanu PF, or are members of the military.
Again, under Mutsvangwa, the quality and diversity of programming at the national broadcaster, ZBC, has yet to improve although the corporation has launched one more channel. More progress is also needed in terms of digital migration and expanding television and radio access to all of the country’s boarders.