Motlanthe to attend Zim cabinet being sworn in

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pretoria - South African President and Chairman of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), Kgalema Motlanthe will travel to Harare on Friday to witness the swearing in of Zimbabwe's new cabinet, under the new government of unity.

He is expected to be accompanied by former President and SADC facilitator Thabo Mbeki.

The swearing in of new cabinet ministers follows Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara being sworn in by President Robert Mugabe to the posts of Prime Minister and Vice Prime Minister respectively on Wednesday.

Mr Mbeki and Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who is also the Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers represented South Africa during Wednesday's official ceremony at Mr Mugabe's official State House compound in Harare.

Mr Tsvangirai has named the Movement for Democratic Change's Secretary General, Tendai Biti, as the person to assume the finance portfolio, while Deputy Treasurer-General Elton Mangoma was named to the Economic Planning and Investment ministry.

Retired army Major Giles Mutsekwa was picked to head the key Home Affairs (Interior) ministry, and prominent Harare lawyer Eric Matinenga was named Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister.

The charismatic party spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, got the Information and Communication Technology portfolio.

Other appointments announced by Mr Tsvangirai were:

* Public Service - Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro
* Science and Technology Development - Professor Heneri Dzinotyiwei
* Energy and Power Development - Elias Mudzuri
* State Enterprises and Parastatals - Eddie Cross
* Health - Dr Henry Madzorera
* Public Works - Theresa Makone
* Social Welfare - Paurine Mpariwa
* Housing and Social Amenities - Fidelis Mhashu
* Water Resources and Development - Abednico Bhebhe

He also named four deputy ministers - Roy Bennett (agriculture), Dr Tichaona Mudzingwa (defence), Jessie Majome (justice) and Cecil Zvidzai (local government).

The swearing in of the Zimbabwean Cabinet on Friday will conclude the process of the formation of Zimbabwe's inclusive government as agreed to in the Global Political Agreement facilitated by Mr Mbeki.

President Motlanthe said on Thursday that these were momentous developments "as the people of Zimbabwe march towards national reconciliation, economic recovery, reconstruction and development.

"Ours as SADC and the rest of the international community therefore is to heed the voice of the Zimbabwean people and seek in word and deed to assist them as they begin the process of rebuilding their country and addressing a myriad of economic challenges facing their country," said President Motlanthe.

Morgan Tsvangirai has already pledged to rebuild the country and called for unity of purpose among its people to ensure the success of the transitional government in dealing with Zimbabwe's many challenges.

In his first public address as prime minister, he said the transitional government would prioritise democratisation first, deal with the humanitarian crisis, beginning with the cholera outbreak and food crisis, and ensure the rejuvenation of the economy, which was once one of the most robust in Africa.

"The economic collapse has caused many people to flee the country and seek menial jobs elsewhere for which they are over-qualified," he noted.

Serious efforts, he said, would also be made to deal with problems in the health and education sectors.

Zimbabwe's economy has been on a downward slide for the last decade because of a number of crippling political and socio-economic challenges.

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