Zimbabwe reshuffle sees Mugabe loyalists purged

By on 21/09/2018 | Updated on 24/09/2020
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has made sweeping changes to the senior civil service (Image courtesy: GovernmentZA/flickr).

Zimbabwe president Emmerson Mnangagwa has pushed out many long-serving senior civil servants, and appointed 18 new permanent secretaries in a wide-ranging reshuffle.

Ousted officials include Willard Manungo, the most senior bureaucrat in the finance ministry, and Tobaiwa Mudede, who had served as registrar general since 1980.

New permanent secretaries include George Tongesayi Guvamatanga, a former managing director of Barclays Bank Zimbabwe, who will head up the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development; and engineer Amos Marawa, who take charge at the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development. The new appointees will take office with immediate effect.

Dr Gloria Magombo is the new permanent secretary at the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, moving from her post as chief executive of the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority.

Clean sweep

The only posts left unfilled were those of permanent secretary at the Ministries of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, and of Primary and Secondary Education. These will be announced in due course, the government said.

Nineteen permanent secretaries and principal directors were reassigned to unspecified “other duties”. As well as Manungo and Mudede, these include Washington Mbizvo, permanent secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, and Dr Desire Sibanda, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education.

Nine others were retired, including Ngoni Masoka, who was the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, and Ethel Mlalazi, director of physical planning in the local government ministry.

The full list of appointments and retirements is available here.

Dirty broom

Mnangagwa, who took power after former president Robert Mugabe was driven out in a coup at the end of last year, bolstered his position with a July general election – though the result was disputed, and his victory marred by a crackdown on protesters.

Rumours of a reshuffle first surfaced in August, when a senior government official said: “We believe a wide-ranging purge is underway, applying to people who had ties to former president Mugabe. The purge is intended to get rid of everyone even remotely associated with him because the new guys want people they know are loyal to them,” according to national news site Pindula.co.zw.

In August, Mnangagwa fired senior officials from the Central Intelligence Organisation, who reportedly had close ties to Mugabe.

However, George Charamba, who had been Mugabe’s spokesman for 25 years but remained in his role after the coup, has been promoted to deputy chief secretary in charge of presidential communications.

About Catherine Early

Catherine is a journalist and editor specialising in government policy and regulation. She writes predominantly about environmental issues and has held permanent roles at the Environmentalist (now known as Transform), the ENDS Report, Planning magazine and Windpower Monthly, and has also written for the Guardian, the Ecologist and China Dialogue. She was a finalist in the Guardian’s International Development Journalism competition 2009, and was part of the team that won PPA Business Magazine of the Year 2011 for Windpower Monthly. She also won an outstanding content award at Haymarket Media Group’s employee awards for data-led stories in Planning magazine. She holds a 2:1 honours degree in English language and literature from Birmingham University.

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