Chief cabinet secretary Misheck Sibanda set for exit in retirement age shake-up

Chief Cabinet Secretary Misheck Sibanda is set to be retired after 17 years in the job.

Sibanda is being forced to stand down after President Emmerson Mnangagwa approved the harmonisation of the retirement age in the civil service to 65 years with immediate effect.

In a September 4 circular, Vincent Hungwe, the Secretary of the Public Service Commission (PSC) told heads of ministries that Mnangagwa has approved an amendment to regulations of 2000 that provided for two pensionable ages in the civil service.

Under the 2000 regulations, those appointed on pensionable terms of service before May 1, 1992, have a pensionable age of 65 while those appointed on or after that date have a pensionable age of 60 years.

“The amendment approved by his Excellency the President, which is being finalised in the immediate term, harmonises the retirement criteria by restoring the retirement/pensionable age to 65 years for all civil servants,” the note said.

Prior to the amendment of the old regulations, some civil servants who had been hired after May 1, 1992, could still continue in service until the age of 65 upon applying for an extension.

Sibanda is over 65-years-old and will be one of the biggest casualties of the new measures.

The historian has held the position since 2003 when he replaced Charles Utete.

His imminent exit will trigger rumours about his replacement, with several candidates angling for the top post.

Justice ministry permanent secretary Virginia Mabhiza and former tourism ministry secretary Sylvester Maunganidze are being touted as the frontrunners.

Currently deputising Sibanda are George Charamba (Presidential Communications) and Martin Rushwaya (Administration and Finance) who will both fancy a step up.

ZimLive understands Sibanda had requested to retire in 2017 after his former boss, the late President Robert Mugabe, was ousted in a military coup, but was asked to stay on by Mnangagwa.

Some of Mugabe’s allies including the former information minister Jonathan Moyo have accused Sibanda – a relative of Mnangagwa – of betrayal.

Moyo in February claimed Sibanda “assisted his brother to oust his former boss.”

The latest developments come after Mnangagwa retired Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Commissioner General Paradzai Zimondi, who will be leaving the post in November.

The Public Service Commission is headed by Vincent Hungwe, who is now being deputised by Nomathemba Ndiweni-Masuku who was appointed recently by Mnangagwa.-zimlive