Same Bus

1 December 2017


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Zimbabwe Cabinet Already Disappoints 


Zimbabwe’s elation over the removal of dictator Robert Mugabe after 37 years of bad government has already passed. Newly appointed and unelected President Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed a 22-member cabinet. As one anonymous Zimbabwean told Al Jazeera, "It’s the same bus, the conductor is no longer driving, but it’s still the same bus." The putsch was never about improving government in Zimbabwe. It was about who got to sit in the big chair. What is surprising is how quickly the new regime showed its true colors.

The BBC notes that "Sibusiso Moyo, the general who appeared on state TV to announce the recent military takeover, is the new foreign minister." However, it sure looks like the military ousted the previous president and installed generals in the cabinet.

Chris Mutsvangwa, head of the war veterans’ association (almost a state within a state), is the information minister. Press freedom in Zimbabwe will continue as before, largely theoretical.

Worst of all, Perence Shiri who headed up the air force, is now the minister of agriculture and land affairs. He led the suppression of the opposition in Matabeleland shortly after Mr. Mugabe came to power. About 20,000 civilians died at his hands thanks to the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade. He should not be in the cabinet but in jail.

There had been short-lived hopes that at least a seat or two would fall to opposition leaders. Morgan Tsvangirai, who had been prime minister some years ago when his Movement for Democratic Change forced Mr. Mugabe to share power to a degree, seemed to be open to such a move. It was not to be. Mr. Tsvangirai has stated that he has had no contact with the new government. The situation in the MDC is complicated by the fact that Mr. Tsvangirai has colon cancer and is increasingly frail. A leaderless MDC would not help the situation.

Newspaper owner Trevor Ncube said "Largely the same people that caused this crisis have been recycled. The honeymoon comes to an end and reality dawns. His concern seems to have been rewarding those who brought him to power and Zanu-PF [the ruling party] unity."

Former finance minister Tendai Biti tweeted, "The honey moon is over even before it had begun. What a shame. What a missed opportunity."

There are countless parallels in history of the top man leaving and the system continuing. Mao is long gone, but China remains a one-party state where the key to success is access to party privilege. Khrushchev may had diminished the worst of Stalinism, but the USSR remained largely the same. Indeed, the Soviet Union is gone, but the Chekists that ran in are still around, and they run Russia.

Without removing the people who occupied the bureaucracy of the state during Mr. Mugabe\\'s reign, the government of Zimbabwe is more or less the same as before the coup. It is painful to think that Mr. Mugabe has been gone for more than two weeks, and yet, the same team is running the show. Change has yet to come to Zimbabwe.

© Copyright 2017 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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