President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced new Cabinet appointments on Monday, filling in positions at the transport and foreign affairs ministries following the Covid-19 deaths of Joel Biggie Matiza and Sibusiso Moyo last month.
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the United Nations Frederick Shava assumes the post of foreign affairs minister which was vacated by Moyo, while Chikomba Central MP Felix Tapiwa Mhona takes over as transport minister.
In 1988, Shava, then the minister of state for political affairs, was implicated in the Willowgate scandal in which ministers and other top ranking government officials were given early access to buy foreign cars at the Willowvale assembly plant in Harare. In some cases, the cars were bought wholesale and resold at a 200 percent profit.
Shava was jailed for nine months in 1989 after a conviction for perjury following a judge-led inquiry, but he was almost immediately pardoned by President Robert Mugabe who also ordered charges against other ministers dropped.
He now takes up the unenviable task of repairing Zimbabwe’s relations with western countries which cite Mnangagwa’s regime for human rights abuses and have frozen vital financial support.
Mnangagwa also appointed Chimanimani West lawmaker Nokuthula Matsikenyere as the new minister of state for provincial affairs for Manicaland, stepping into a role previously held by Ellen Gwaradzimba, who also succumbed to the virus last month.
Mike Madiro, who was deputy home affairs minister, will move to transport in a similar role to deputise Mhona.
Beitbridge West MP Ruth Maboyi Ncube will replace Madiro as deputy home affairs minister, the presidency announced.
Former journalist Kindness Paradza, the MP for Makonde, will fill the vacant post of deputy information minister which was vacated by Energy Mutodi who was sacked by Mnangagwa last year.