Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been accused of nepotism and favoritism after appointing his son and nephew as deputy ministers in his new cabinet. The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) said the move was “particularly worrying” and showed that Mnangagwa was not interested in the national plight, but only in enriching his family.
Mnangagwa, who won a disputed re-election last month, swore in a new cabinet on Tuesday that included his 34-year-old son David Kudakwashe Mnangagwa as deputy finance minister and his nephew Tongai Mafidhi Mnangagwa as deputy tourism minister. Both are members of the ruling ZANU-PF party, which also retained its parliamentary majority in the elections.
The CCC, which has rejected Mnangagwa’s victory and called for fresh elections supervised by neighboring countries, said the appointments were a sign of nepotism and corruption. “Rather than think of the national plight, Mr. Mnangagwa has set up an infrastructure to feed his family,” CCC spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi said in a statement.
Mnangagwa’s cabinet also faced criticism for being bloated and recycling old ministers who have failed to deliver on economic reforms and human rights. The cabinet now comprises 26 ministries, up from 22 in the previous one. Some of the ministers who were retained include Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri as defense minister, Constantino Chiwenga as health minister, and Sibusiso Moyo as foreign minister. All three are former military generals who played a key role in ousting former president Robert Mugabe in 2017.
Mnangagwa also appointed some younger members of ZANU-PF, such as Tinoda Machakaire as youth minister and Kirsty Coventry as sports minister. Coventry, a former Olympic swimmer, is one of the few non-ZANU-PF members in the cabinet. She said she accepted the post because she wanted to serve her country and promote sports development.
Mnangagwa, who received 52.6% of the vote in the Aug. 23-24 elections, has dismissed the allegations of electoral fraud and intimidation by the opposition and some observers. He said the elections were a sign of Zimbabwe’s “mature democracy” and a victory over Western adversaries. He has also vowed to implement political and economic reforms to end Zimbabwe’s isolation and revive its economy, which has been battered by hyperinflation, unemployment, and sanctions.