Zimbabwe's new President Mnangagwa names top military officers in first Cabinet

Zimbabwe's new interim President Emmerson Mnangagwa reviews the honour guard at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.
Zimbabwe's new interim President Emmerson Mnangagwa reviews the honour guard at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.PHOTO: AFP

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's new president named his first Cabinet on Thursday (Nov 30), appointing two senior military officers to key portfolios and dropping close allies of Mr Robert Mugabe, who resigned after the armed forces took control of the country.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed as Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo, the army major general who went on state television announcing the military's take-over, a dramatic power grab which culminated in Mr Mugabe stepping down a week later.

The long-serving air force commander Perence Shiri also became the Lands and Agriculture Minister, according to a statement released late on Thursday night.

Mr Mnangagwa however kept a sizeable number of ministers from Mr Mugabe's former Cabinet - including Mr Patrick Chinamas, who returns to the finance ministry from which he had been removed by Mr Mugabe during a Cabinet reshuffle in October.

War veteran leaders who spearheaded mass protests to force Mr Mugabe out of office, four days after the military sent tanks to the streets of the capital Harare, were also awarded positions in the Cabinet.

Mr Chris Mutsvangwa is now the Information Minister while another became a deputy in the defence and security ministry.

The Cabinet did not include figures from the opposition to Mr Mugabe.

Mr Mnangagwa, 75, was sworn in last Friday following dramatic events in the southern African country after the military took over saying they wanted to arrest criminals in government around 93-year-old Mr Mugabe.

Mr Mugabe's tenure withstood repeated claims of hanging on to power through brutal repression of dissent, election rigging and corruption, until concerted pressure from the military finally forced him to quit.

Parliament had begun proceedings to impeach Mr Mugabe for allowing his wife Grace and a coterie of followers to "capture" the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Now the new president has vowed sweeping changes in government and new policies to attract investment and revive the ailing economy.