By Buhle Tshavango
Only 3 female ministers have made it to the latest 22 member cabinet under President Mnangagwa , a move that has trashed work done in the past years to improve women’s participation in governance issues.
The new cabinet which is also devoid of any young blood has been described as a ‘swop and top’ ploy that has seen some ministers being dropped out and replaced by new names from the same batch.
The announcement of the new cabinet has dampened the spirits of those who hoped that a new President would equal to a renewed government. Alas, the intervention by the military has not only served to strengthen their standing but has also earned them top positions in the new government.
Cde Sithembiso Nyoni, Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and Cde Priscah Mupfumira are the only ministers who have made it in the new cabinet as compared to their 19 male counterparts.
Cde Angeline Masuku, Cde Miriam Rutendo Chikukwa and Cde Monica Mutsvangwa have been elected as ministers of state for provinces amongst 8 other male ministers of state, whilst there are no female deputy ministers amongst the chosen.
This gender imbalanced cabinet has raised a lot of criticism of the new President’s standing.
President Mnangagwa’s cabinet violates section 104 (4) which stipulates the importance of regional & GENDER balance in cabinet. There are 3 women serving as ministers. This is not right! pic.twitter.com/vqIgvoObyy
— Chipo Dendere, PhD (@drDendere) November 30, 2017
Is this Operation Restore Legacy? In 1980, Zimbabwe’s first cabinet mostly comprised of men with only 1 woman occupying a ministerial position. In 2017, 37 years later, Mnangagwa’s cabinet has 3 women. @paulkasekesnr @ali_naka @Wamagaisa
— Mac (@tmakwande) December 1, 2017
The Coalition of Democrats (CODE) expressed their disapproval over the new cabinet saying it was poorly selected arguing that if the President felt he owed his triumph to the army he should have found other ways to show his gratitude not handing over the future of Zimbabwe to the army on a silver platter.
“ED should have appointed fresh minds and successful business people to enable change and also address issues to do with the youth of Zimbabwe.
There is no gender balance in his new cabinet, considering that we are in the 21st century”, read their press statement
Kuwadzana east member of Parliament and Vice President for MDC-T Hon Chelson Chamisa described the new cabinet as a ‘command cabinet disaster’, commenting on the recent developments on social media Chamisa said the recycled cabinet would only sow seeds of revolution.
“The so-called ‘new cabinet’ is the new old and old new. The new president has not renewed. Command Cabinet, Command politics Command elections, Command agriculture and Command economics are not indicators of a New Zimbabwe & New Beginning. Old politics and old politicians are sowing seeds of a powerful revolution…”, he said.
While the gender imbalance in the new cabinet has raised concern, some sections of the society are of the view that merit should be the prerequisite for leadership positions if Zimbabwe should forge a new path.