Zimbabwe: No Opposition Members in Mnangagwa’s New Cabinet

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaks after being sworn in at the presidential inauguration ceremony in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe, Nov. 24, 2017.

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Zimbabwe’s newly installed President Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed senior military officials to top posts in his Cabinet. The announcement was made late Thursday on state-run television.

Members of the opposition were excluded from the 22-member Cabinet, dashing hopes Mnangagwa would seek to create a more inclusive political climate than his predecessor Robert Mugabe.

The 93-year-old Mugabe, who ruled the southern African country for 37 years, resigned under pressure last week after he was removed from power by the military and lost the support of lawmakers in his ruling ZANU-PF party.

Sibusio Moyo, the army general who went on state television to announce the military takeover of the government and Mugabe’s house arrest, is the new foreign affairs minister.

Air Force Chief Perence Shiri is the Lands and Agriculture minister. He is associated with carrying out the mass murders of Mugabe’s reign of terror against the Ndebele people in Matabeleland in western Zimbabwe, where 20,000 civilians were killed.

Chris Mutsvangwa, the leader of the influential war veterans association whose members include freedom fighters who fought alongside Mugabe in the country’s liberation struggle, is the information minister.

Many of the other Cabinet members are holdovers from Mugabe’s government.

Main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai told the Associated Press there had been “no dialogue” with the new administration. He said Mnangagwa has a “very small window” to demonstrate how he is different from his predecessor and whether he will deliver on national expectations of change.

Mugabe was the world’s oldest head of state. He took power, first as prime minister then as president, in 1980, when Zimbabwe won independence from Britain and ended white minority rule.

Although he initially brought some benefits to the black majority and the poor, Mugabe’s authoritarian rule destroyed Zimbabwe’s economy, discouraged foreign investment and stifled any political challenges through violence, intimidation and what the opposition says were rigged elections.