Emmerson Mnangagwa. REUTERS
Emmerson Mnangagwa. REUTERS

Harare — Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa three days after his inauguration has dissolved the cabinet of his predecessor Robert Mugabe, who “resigned” after the military took control of the country, a senior government official said Monday.

Mnangagwa “is in the process of putting together a new team of cabinet ministers”, Misheck Sibanda, the chief secretary to the president and cabinet said in a statement.

Sibanda added that Mnangagwa has appointed Patrick Chinamasa as acting finance minister and Simbarashe Mumbengegwi as acting top diplomat “to allow uninterrupted services in critical ministries of government”. The statement did not indicate when Mnangagwa will announce his new cabinet.

Mnangagwa, 75, was sworn in on 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 Mugabe.

His 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 to quit.

Parliament had begun proceedings to impeach Mugabe for allowing his wife and a coterie of followers to “capture” the ruling party.

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

At the same time, Zimbabwe has bestowed a new honour on Mugabe, who had ruled the country since independence from Britain in 1980, by declaring his birthday, February 21, a public holiday, a state newspaper reported Monday.

Earlier on Monday ousted Zimbabwean finance minister Ignatius Chombo, charged with three counts of corruption for offences that allegedly took place two decades ago, was denied bail and will be detained in custody until his case is heard on December 8. 

Chombo, who faces charges including trying to defraud the central bank, was detained after the military seized power in “Operation Restore Legacy”, which it said was meant to remove “criminals” around Mugabe. 

His lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku, told reporters that he would appeal the magistrate’s ruling in the High Court on Tuesday.The magistrate who detained Chombo said the former minister could abscond, influence state witnesses or be the target of a mob attack over the allegations that he abused his position when he was minister of local government more than a decade ago.

Chombo, who was appointed finance minister in October, was among members of the G40 political faction allied to Mugabe's wife, Grace, who were also expelled from the ruling Zanu-PF party. 

AFP, Reuters 

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