Zimbabwean Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa arrives to present the 2017 budget to Parliament in Harare. Picture: REUTERS
Zimbabwean Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa arrives to present the 2017 budget to Parliament in Harare. Picture: REUTERS

Harare — Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed senior military officials to top posts in his new cabinet, and chose a veteran cabinet minister to head the finance ministry.

Mnangagwa was sworn in as president last Friday after 93-year-old Robert Mugabe quit under pressure from the army.

He named Patrick Chinamasa as finance minister, Air Marshal Perrance Shiri land minister and Maj-Gen Sibusiso Moyo foreign minister, among other appointments.

“The honeymoon is over even before it had begun,” Tendai Biti, leader of the opposition People’s Democratic Party and a former finance minister, said on Twitter. “What a shame. What a missed opportunity.”

He also brought back many other faces from the Robert Mugabe era, which could disappoint Zimbabweans who had been hoping for a broad-based government and a break with the past.

Chinamasa, a former finance minister in Mugabe’s government, moved to a newly created ministry of cyber security in a reshuffle last month. The cyber portfolio has been folded into the information ministry headed by a former deputy minister in Mugabe’s government, Supa Mandiwanzira.

Winston Chitando was appointed mines minister, while Simon Khaya Moyo will head energy and Ziyambi Ziyambi will take on the justice portfolio.

Chitando is the executive chairman of Mimosa, a unit of Impala Platinum, the world’s second-biggest producer of the metal.

In addition to the cabinet, court decisions since the coup have been criticised as showing that little change can be expected in a country that has been riven by human rights violations for two decades. 

Mnangagwa is under pressure to deliver, especially on the economy, which is in the grip of severe foreign currency shortages that have seen banks failing to give customers cash.

He told heads of government ministries on Tuesday that he was putting together a "leaner" government, which would see the merging of some departments to enhance efficiency.

No vice-presidents were announced on Friday.

Reuters and Bloomberg

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