Zimbabwe’s new president has appointed a new Cabinet that includes ruling party loyalists as well as figures linked to the military, whose takeover helped oust former leader Robert Mugabe.
No opposition politicians are included in the list, which has been seen as the first test of whether Emmerson Mnangagwa, a longtime Mugabe ally, would move out of his shadow.
The 22-member Cabinet announced late on Thursday on state-run television includes Major General Sibusiso Moyo as foreign minister, Air Marshal Perrance Shiri as agriculture minister and Chris Mutsvangwa, leader of Zimbabwe’s war veterans, as information minister.
Air Marshal Shiri is directly linked to the Matabeleland massacre of thousands of people by a North Korea-trained military brigade in the 1980s when Mr Mugabe moved against a political rival.
Maj Gen Moyo, on November 15, announced the military takeover that put Mr Mugabe under house arrest and set in motion a national clamour leading to the former president’s resignation after 37 years in power.
Mr Mugabe quit on November 21 amid impeachment proceedings. The ruling Zanu-PF party replaced him with Mr Mnangagwa, who was fired weeks ago as one of the country’s vice presidents as Mr Mugabe’s wife, Grace, positioned herself to succeed him.
The list of Cabinet appointments makes no mention of vice presidents.
For some Zimbabweans who had hoped the new leader would make the Cabinet more inclusive, Thursday night’s announcement was a disappointment after they had cheered the military’s takeover and backed the ruling party’s impeachment efforts.
Lawyer Alex Magaisa tweeted a recent photo of Mr Mugabe and his wife laughing, with the words “When they saw the new Cabinet”.
Former finance minister Tendai Biti tweeted: “The honey moon is over even before it had begun. What a shame. What a missed opportunity.”
In an interview earlier on Thursday with the Associated Press, main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Mr Mnangagwa has a “very small window” to show that he is different from Mr Mugabe and that he is meeting national expectations of change.
Mr Tsvangirai added that there has been “no dialogue” with the new leadership.
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