Mugabe appoints VPs

President Robert Mugabe

JUSTICE minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and former ambassador to South Africa Phelekezela Mphoko were yesterday named by President Robert Mugabe as the two Zanu PF vice-presidents.


First Lady Grace became the highest ranked woman in Zanu PF when she officially assumed the post of women’s league boss.

Mugabe abolished the national chairman post and demoted Simon Khaya Moyo to the position of secretary for information and publicity, previously held by the expelled Rugare Gumbo.

Emmerson Mnangagwa
JUSTICE minister Emmerson Mnangagwa

The party’s presidium, Mugabe said, will now have only three people instead of the previous four, namely the president and his two deputies.

Mnangagwa, who replaced the ousted Vice-President Joice Mujuru, was named Mugabe’s deputy from the Zanu PF side, while Mphoko is from the former Zapu, in line with the 1987 Unity Accord between the two parties.

Tension gripped Zanu PF headquarters before Mugabe’s arrival to announce the new politburo.

When the veteran leader arrived accompanied by Grace, he greeted journalists before proceeding to the meeting room where the restless members of the central committee waited.

“There will be a president at the top and two vice-presidents,” Mugabe said.

“We are reducing that top heaviness.

former ambassador to South Africa Phelekezela Mphoko
former ambassador to South Africa Phelekezela Mphoko

“We will have the president and the two VPs.

“The two VPs have no real big function except that they are my deputies. I can give them work to do.”

Mugabe said he felt there was no need to have two VPs and a national chairman, adding that the two would rotate in chairing meetings.

He said there would be 22 departments in the politburo after the inclusion of one for war veterans and ex-detainees.

“At the top is President Mugabe and there are two VPs, one of whom will be drawn from Zapu and the other from Zanu,” he said.

“From Zanu side is Cde Mnangagwa, we say congratulations to him.

“From Zapu we have Mphoko. It’s only one plus those two to make us three who will be known as the presidium, the rest will be heads of departments.”

First Lady Grace Mugabe became the highest ranked woman in Zanu PF
First Lady Grace Mugabe became the highest ranked woman in Zanu PF

Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo was one of the biggest winners after he was named secretary for administration, a position previously held by Didymus Mutasa, a move that seemed to have shocked many.

Water minister Saviour Kasukuwere became the new political commissar, taking over from Webster Shamu who was booted out by Mugabe for participating in the alleged plot to unseat him.

Transport minister Obert Mpofu was also elevated to the secretary for finance post, while Simbarashe Mumbengegwi retained his external affairs portfolio.

Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi is the secretary for national security, while former women’s league boss Oppah Muchinguri became the transport and social welfare secretary.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa becomes the secretary for legal affairs, taking over from Mnangagwa.

Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa
Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa

Josaya Hungwe was named secretary for production and labour, taking over from ousted Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, also accused of planning to unseat Mugabe.

Mike Bimha was named implementation and economic empowerment secretary, with Sydney Sekeramayi becoming secretary for war veterans.

Information minister Jonathan Moyo was named science and technology secretary, with Joram Gumbo becoming the new secretary for education, while Matabeleland Provincial Affairs minister Cain Mathema was named secretary for land reform and resettlement.

Cleveria Chizema was named health and child welfare secretary, while Christopher Mushowe took over as secretary for economic affairs.

Pupurai Togarepi was named youth affairs secretary, taking over from Absolom Sikhosana, while Sithokozile Mathuthu became the new gender and culture secretary.

War veterans’ leader Chris Mutsvangwa is the deputy secretary for war veterans and will seat in the politburo.

Sithembiso Nyoni is the business development secretary, while Prisca Mupfumira takes over environment and tourism portfolio.

Joshua Malinga retained the secretary for the disabled post.

Mugabe said he hoped the new team would revitalise the party’s structures and stop using Zanu PF to promote their own interests, attacking Mujuru and Mutasa for abusing their positions to plot “evil”.

He said the department of war veterans, youth and women’s leagues would have two representatives.

Mugabe said while some would be full time, others would be accommodated in the Cabinet to be announced either today or tomorrow.