Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe Swears in New Cabinet

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Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at National Heroes Acre in HarareZimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has sworn in a 26-member Cabinet that he describes as aggressive. Mugabe told his new administration that he wants to see the land reform drive concluded in his five-year term.

Mugabe shuffled key positions in his Cabinet after his ZANU-PF party swept the general elections in July. The new Cabinet marks a departure from its predecessor which was made up of ZANU-PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) ministers, assembled in the aftermath of the violent elections of 2008, according to The Hindu.

Mugabe described his new appointments as a “war Cabinet.”

“Combative, yes it’s much more than that, we must always be war-like – we are Zanu PF,”  he said, thezimbabwemail.com reports.

On Tuesday, former justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa was appointed minister of finance – a post formerly held by MDC’s Tendai Biti; while Walter Chidhakwa, former deputy minister for state enterprises, was handed the crucial mining portfolio. Saviour Kasukwere, former minister for youth and indigenization, swapped places with Francis Nhema, who previously held the environment portfolio.

Over the past decade, Chinamasa played a significant role in implementing ZANU-PF’s flagship policies. He drafted legislative provisions for the Fast Track Land Reform process of the 2000s in which 10 million hectares of land were forcibly repossessed from white commercial farmers and handed over black peasants, according to The Hindu.

Zimbabwe expands partnership with China

New Zimbabwe reports the new finance minister said Wednesday that the country will increase economic ties with friendly countries like China to develop the economy as Western nations maintain their sanctions after Mugabe’s re-election.

Chinamasa told reporters the ZANU-PF government had accepted the reality that the West would not remove financial and travel sanctions on Mugabe and his senior allies and would not release any direct financial assistance.

“Because the doors have been closed by those who used to be our traditional partners, we have to intensify new economic relationships and friendships. That means every country that is friendly to Zimbabwe, including China,” Chinamasa said,” according to the report.

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