President Mnangagwa swears in cabinet with changes to pacify public

Emmerson Mnangagwa, center, and his wife Auxillia, right, arrive at the presidential inauguration ceremony in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. Mnangagwa is being sworn in as Zimbabwe’s president after Robert Mugabe resigned on Tuesday, ending his 37-year rule. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe on Monday swore in his cabinet, with several last-minute changes after a public outcry about largely assigning posts to military leaders.

“The following adjustments have been made to ensure compliance with the constitution and considerations of gender, demography and special needs,” said Secretary to the President, Misheck Sibanda, during the ceremony in the capital, Harare.

However, several key portfolios firmly remain in the hands of senior military officials and war veterans, who were instrumental in the peaceful coup that brought the 75-year-old president to power in November.

No members of the opposition parties are included in the cabinet, something many Zimbabweans had hoped for after Mr. Mnangagwa took over from long-time leader Robert Mugabe.

War veteran’s leader, Christopher Mutsvangwa, who was last week appointed to the Information Ministry, was reassigned to be the president’s special advisor.

Victor Matemadanda, the Secretary-General of the war veterans association, who was earmarked as deputy minister for security, was reassigned as political commissar of the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Mr. Mnangagwa appointed Petronella Kagonye to the labour and social welfare portfolio, raising the number of female ministers to four in the 21-person cabinet.

Mr. Kagonye replaced Clever Nyathi, who was appointed special advisor in the president’s office on national peace and reconciliation.

Mr. Mnangagwa made Joshua Malinga his special advisor on disability issues.

The president also annulled the re-appointment of Lazarus Dokora as education minister after criticism that Mr. Dokora had undermined Zimbabwe’s education system.

Mr. Dokora was replaced with his deputy Paul Mavima. (dpa/NAN)

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