Emmerson Mnangagwa famed for taking over power from Robert Mugabe in a ‘bloodless coup’ has made Sibusiso Moyo, the general who appeared on state TV after the recent military takeover, the new foreign minister.
Maj-Gen Sibusiso Moyo, the face of the military takeover and until then a relatively unknown figure, is the foreign affairs and international trade minister. He holds a PhD in international relations and at one point was the leader of the elite green berets squad.
The head of Zimbabwe’s air force, Perence Shiri, has been named the minister of agriculture and land affairs in a list that was released yesterday.
Air force leader Perence Shiri was a soldier linked to the mass killings of ordinary Zimbabweans in the mid 1980s at the behest of then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe. The operation resulted in the killing of an estimated 20,000 civilians.
When Mr Mnangagwa swept into power with the help of the military last week, he promised a new era.
However, the composition of his new cabinet has drawn some criticism because the two military figures and others who served in Mugabe’s since Independence.
The military have had a controversial role in Zimbabwe’s politics and had been accused of keeping Mr Mugabe in power.
Just two weeks ago many Zimbabweans were celebrating the so-called people’s commander – Gen Constantino Chiwenga – for leading the military takeover which led to the change in leadership. Now they wait to see whether he will be rewarded with a vice-presidency.
Aside from Mr Moyo and Mr Shiri, leaders of the powerful war veterans’ association, who pushed for Mr Mugabe to go after the military intervention, also got cabinet jobs.
Chris Mutsvangwa, who heads the group, is now in charge at the information ministry.
The appointments led government critic Tendai Biti to suggest that Zimbabweans were “wrong” to have hoped for change.
“Up until now, we had given the putsch the benefit of the doubt. We did so in the genuine, perhaps naive view that the country could actually move forward. We craved change, peace & stability in our country. How wrong we were,” he said.
“Largely the same people that caused this crisis have been recycled. The honeymoon comes to an end and reality dawns. His concern seems to have been rewarding those who brought him to power and Zanu-PF unity,” he added.
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