Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa drops education minister after public outcry

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa officiates at a university graduation ceremony in Chinhoyi, near Harare, Zimbabwe, December 1, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a university graduation ceremony in Chinhoyi, near Harare, Zimbabwe, December 1, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa dropped his primary and higher education minister, a day after reappointing him to the cabinet following an outcry from Zimbabweans on social media and radio shows.

Lazaraus Dokora’s reappointment as education minister was slammed by Zimbabweans who claimed he had poor performance and that he undermined the country’s education system. He was replaced by his deputy Paul Mavima.

Mnangagwa in his cabinet gave top posts to senior military officials in what was widely seen as a reward for the army’s role in the removal of his predecessor, Robert Mugabe. Air Marshal Perrance Shiri was named lands and agriculture minister and Major General Sibusiso Moyo is new the foreign minister. Moyo on November 15 went on state TV to announce the military’s takeover — a power grab which climaxed a week later when Robert Mugabe quit the presidency.

Mnangagwa made other changes to the cabinet that his chief secretary Misheck Sibanda called “adjustments to ensure compliance with the Constitution and considerations of gender, demography and special needs”.

Under the Zimbabwean constitution, ministers and their deputies have to be members of parliament, except five who can be chosen for their professional skills and competence.

ZANU-PF lawmaker Petronella Kagonye was named minister in the labor and social welfare portfolio, replacing university professor Clever Nyathi who was appointed special advisor in the president’s office on national peace and reconciliation.

Chris Mutsvanga, leader of the powerful war veterans’ association and who was named media, information and broadcast minister, has also been appointed special advisor to the president.