Demoted VP Mnangagwa Accepts Mugabe’s Choice of New Blood

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Zimbabwe’s Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa offered a humbled acceptance of his recent ouster as Minister of Justice in a cabinet reshuffle, saying it’s President Robert Mugabe’s discretion to pick and drop cabinet members.

“It’s the president’s pleasure to introduce new blood into cabinet,” Mnangagwa offered.

Mnangagwa, who has been implicated in succession battles within the ruling Zanu-PF party and accused of leading a faction called Team Lacoste, offered no defense for his removal as Justice Minister, a position he has held alongside his vice presidency, since 2013.

“As he [President Mugabe] said himself, he has been looking at us and our performance and some areas he indicated that the performance was not up to his expectation, and as a result of that, he’s done a reshuffle,” said Mnangagwa.

President Mugabe announced his plans to reshuffle the cabinet on Saturday, during a youth conference at the party’s headquarters. Many speculated over Mnangagwa’s fate, given the public showdowns against him of late, including recently by his colleague Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko and First Lady Grace Mugabe who dared him to leave the party, while officiating over the opening of The Empowerment Bank.

“Each cabinet which is set up will do its best to move the economy forward, move the country forward. That is what is expected,” said Mnangagwa.

Using provisions provided for by the Constitution, President Mugabe made eight new ministerial appointments, reassigned 10 ministers to new portfolios, and dropped three altogether.

Among those reassigned were former Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa who will now head the new Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation Ministry, and former Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi who has now assumed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Among those dismissed from their ministerial post, including Mnangagwa was former Labor and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira, who was replaced by President Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, who was the Minister of Youth, Indigenizatiion and Economic Empowerment.-VOA

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