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'Appoint Your Own When You Become Leader’ — Zimbabwe’s President To Critics As He Appoints Son, Nephew As Deputy Ministers


President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, has reacted to criticisms faced for appointing his son, David Kudakwashe Mnangagwa, as the deputy finance minister in a new cabinet on Monday, following his re-election.

The move has raised concerns about nepotism within the government.

Mnangagwa won a second term in a disputed vote last month, which the opposition described as a “gigantic fraud” amid criticism from election observers who say the election failed to meet regional and international standards.

Critics argue that his actions are contributing to a perception of dynastic politics in Africa, following the footsteps of other leaders who have appointed family members to key government positions.

In Congo-Brazzaville, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso appointed his son Denis-Christel as a cabinet minister, fueling speculation about dynastic succession.

Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang has had his son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, serve as vice president, while in Gabon, President Ali Bongo Ondimba succeeded his father Omar Bongo, who ruled for decades.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame appointed his daughter, Ange Kagame, to a key role in his office, adding to the conversation about political dynasties on the continent.

Information Nigeria understands that his son, David, 34, will serve as the deputy to Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, while President Mnangagwa’s nephew, Tongai Mafidhi Mnangagwa, was named deputy minister of tourism and hospitality.

Ncube himself, an ex-banker, has not been spared criticism after his economic policies failed to generate growth, amid failure to repay foreign debt in excess of $17 billion.

David Mnangagwa, who recently graduated with a law degree from the University of Zimbabwe, entered parliament through the youth quota system on the Zanu – PF party list from Midlands province. He is one of President Mnangagwa’s reported nearly two dozen children.

Tongai Mnangagwa is the Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Hunyani constituency. His late father, David Mnangagwa, was President Mnangagwa’s younger brother.

Another move that raised eyebrows, was Mnangagwa’s appointment of a husband and wife, Christopher and Monica Mutsvangwa, as ministers.

Christopher Mutsvangwa will lead the new ministry of Veterans of Liberation, while Monica Mutsvangwa is the new minister of Women’s Affairs and SMEs.

Reports suggest that President Mnangagwa is also considering an official role in his office for another of his sons, Emmerson Junior.

Sources indicate that Emmerson Junior has already participated in the president’s meetings with foreign investors, and there are plans to formalize his role, possibly as an adviser or director.

The 80-year-old leader is under pressure to rebuild an economy hit by lack of foreign investment, unemployment, high inflation and a local dollar which has plunged 80% this year.

“I have a huge majority and I think the opposition would enjoy to be in actual opposition rather than in government,” Mnangagwa told reporters after announcing the cabinet list, which had no opposition officials in it.

When asked why he has reappointed Kirsty Coventry as sports minister, he said, he was happy with how she has performed in government.

“I have reappointed her because l am happy with her performance. Whoever was not impressed by her can appoint someone else when they become president,” he said.

Coventry was reappointed despite being among the most underperforming ministers.

During her five year tenure as cabinet minister, in 2020, Zimbabwe was banned from hosting international soccer games by the Confederation of African Football because of substandard stadiums.

Information Nigeria reports that

In 2022, Zimbabwe was banned for 18 months by Fifa, football’s governing body, over government interference in the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa).

Reacting, Fadzayi Mahere, a lawmaker from the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), criticized Mnangagwa’s cabinet, describing it as “indefensible.”

She highlighted concerns about legitimacy, corruption, violence, nepotism, incompetence, and ethical issues within the government.

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