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Yielding To Criticisms, President Mnangwaga Changes Cabinet Appointees At Last Hour

Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa has faced criticism over his Cabinet appointments.

Mr Mnangagwa’s most controversial appointments included Sibusiso Moyo, the general who played a prominent role in the recent military takeover. He was given the role of foreign minister.

The head of Zimbabwe’s air force, Perence Shiri, was named minister of agriculture and land affairs despite his notoriety in having led a military operation against opponents of Robert Mugabe in the early 1980s.

Opposition leader Tendai Biti said that until the appoinments were made, Zimbabweans had “given the putsch the benefit of the doubt.

“We did so in the genuine, perhaps naive view that the country could actually move forward,” he tweeted.

We craved change, peace & stability in our country. How wrong we were”.

On Sunday Mr Mnangagwa dropped two ministers he had appointed to the cabinet, a move widely seen as a response to a public uproar over the nominations.

Reports suggest the initial list did not comply with a constitutional provision which limits the number of ministers who are not members of parliament.

Some opposition supporters celebrated the most high profile decision – the removal of the education minister Lazarus Dokora – arguing that he was responsible for the decline in educational standards over the last few years.

He is being replaced by his own deputy, Paul Mavima.

Meanwhile Zanu-PF deputy Petronella Kagonye becomes labour and social welfare minister in place of Clever Nyathi, who becomes a special adviser to the president on national peace and reconciliation.

Following the news, Zimbabwean media mogul and commentator Trevor Ncube tweeted that the quick change meant the president was either “listening to the public” or “he rushed through this important task”.

Mr Mnangagwa, 75, named his cabinet overnight on Thursday, and is expected to appoint two vice presidents following a special ZANU-PF congress in mid-December.

But he quickly replaced Mr Dokora with Paul Mavima, a professor and also a lawmaker in the governing ZANU-PF party.

A government statement said the changes were necessary to “ensure compliance with the constitution and considerations of gender, demography and special needs.”

Mr Dokora, who had served in Mugabe’s government since 2013, has faced heavy criticism for introducing changes to the country’s education curriculum which were widely seen as threatening the once-revered school system.

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