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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is mulling a roots and branch shake-up of his Cabinet, informed in part by the poor performance of some of his lieutenants and lately the apparent lack of self-restraint and indiscipline by some of the so-called young Turks, the Financial Gazette can exclusively reveal. Last September, the ZANU-PF leader appointed a 26-member Cabinet comprising allies from his previous administration in which he shared power with Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who was the Prime Minister.

The Cabinet, announced almost five weeks after the watershed July 31, 2013 elections in which ZANU-PF retained more than two-thirds majority in Parliament had a specific mandate to revitalise the country’s troubled economy in order to bring to an end the spate of company closures and job losses that has contributed to rising poverty levels. But more than six months into their five-year term, most Cabinet ministers are proving to be out of their depths and unable to deal with the task at hand.

The economy has continued with its free-fall with the government itself struggling to pay its employees numbering more than 200 000. Even the tax collector has warned of difficult times ahead due to a non-performing economy in an unprecedented but frank assessment of how bad the situation is on the ground. Highly-placed sources told the Financial Gazette this week that what has infuriated President Mugabe most is rampant indiscipline creeping into his Cabinet as evidenced by public spats between some of his associates, defined along the lines of factional fights within his party.

Recently, two of his ministers had a no-holds barred go at their colleagues in the top echelons of the ruling ZANU-PF party, which incensed President Mugabe so much, some heads might roll. In a public broadcast aired live on ZiFM Stereo about a fortnight ago, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa let it rip that he was displeased with his boss Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Joey Bimha, the Foreign Affairs permanent secretary, whom he accused of treating the ministry as a fiefdom and sidelining him in the process.

In a reaction, which sources say could precipitate a Cabinet reshuffle, President Mugabe is said to have expressed his bitterness over the rampant indiscipline to other members of the presidium who include Vice President Joice Mujuru, and Senior Minister, Simon Khaya Moyo, and also promised to take action. Contacted for comment, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba professed ignorance over the matter.

He said: “I am not aware that the President is unhappy (about the ministers’ public verbal attacks). The fact that I am not aware shows that I am either mad or you are being speculative.” Asked about the possibility of a reshuffle Charamba said, “I have only read about it from you guys in the media. Cabinet reshuffle is one of the many options available to the President, but to try and reduce his unhappiness over corruption or ministers’ attacks of each other to an intention of a reshuffle of the Cabinet is a bit simplistic.”

In March the President expressed wrath at the unrelenting corruption saying a minister and a Member of Parliament had demanded US$120 000 bribe from a potential investor. Speaking at a belated 90th birthday party hosted in his honour by the Civil Service Commission in Harare last month, President Mugabe warned of imminent arrests of senior government officials over graft allegations. He said corruption had ruined government’s operations.

Source : Financial Gazette