ZIMBABWE POLITICS: Cabinet Reshuffle! Mugabe Appoints Patrick Chinamasa to Lead New Cyber Ministry

Politicoscope
By Politicoscope October 10, 2017 11:19

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Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the former British colony since independence in 1980, has said he plans to run for another 5-year term next year, his last under the constitution, when he will be 94.

In total, 10 cabinet ministers changed posts while two were dropped entirely.

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ZIMBABWE POLITICS: Cabinet Reshuffle! Mugabe Appoints Patrick Chinamasa to Lead New Cyber Ministry

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe moved Patrick Chinamasa from the finance ministry on Monday to lead a new cyber security ministry that will focus on crimes on social media and other websites ahead of an election due next year.

Chinamasa will be replaced at the treasury by Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo in a cabinet reshuffle that also diminished the role of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, seen as a potential successor to Mugabe.

Chombo’s move, announced in a government statement, comes against the backdrop of a severe hard currency shortage that has dealt a fresh blow to confidence and investment in the southern African economy, which uses the U.S dollar.

Chinamasa was appointed finance minister after Mugabe’s re-election in 2013 and his move to head the new Ministry of Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation was unexpected.

Its creation comes after Chinamasa said last month the government would now treat social media as a security threat after accusing users of spreading rumours about shortages of basic goods, which caused panic buying and price increases.

The government has been uneasy with social media after activists such as pastor Evan Mawararire and his #ThisFlag movement last year used social media to organise a stay-at-home demonstration, the biggest anti-government protest in a decade.

Government critics took to Twitter deriding Chinamasa as new “minister of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp affairs”.

Chinamasa, a lawyer by training, will also be responsible for bringing to parliament a long awaited cyber crimes bill that criminalise false information posted on the internet, revenge porn, cyber-bullying and online activity against the government.

CASH CRUNCH
Meanwhile Chombo, who does not have a finance background and is a staunch Mugabe supporter who comes from the 93-year-old leader’s rural home district, was the surprise pick for minister of finance.

He will have to contend with a serious shortage of foreign currency that has seen U.S. dollar bank balances lose value against cash dollars, fanning a thriving black market.

The worthless Zimbabwe dollar was replaced by the U.S. dollar in 2009 but the economy has struggled over the past 18 months because of a massive domestic shortage of greenbacks.

As a result, cash, especially crisp, new, $100 bills, has enjoyed a steady 10 percent to 20 percent premium over dollars stored electronically in bank accounts – nicknamed “zollars” – meaning people have to transfer more than face value to the person selling the dollars on the black market.

When Mugabe said on Saturday he was going to review the performance of his ministers, speculation was rife that Mnangagwa, who said last week he had been poisoned in August, would be among the casualties.

Mnangagwa has come under attack from a ruling party faction that accuses him of seeking to force Mugabe to resign in his favour. The ZANU-PF is divided into two camps, one supporting Mnangagwa to succeed him and another rallying behind First Lady Grace Mugabe.

Mnangagwa, who denies the accusations, lost oversight of the Justice Ministry to the head of Zimbabwe’s spy agency Happyton Bonyongwe.

Bonyongwe, a retired army general who headed the national intelligence agency for 15 years, will be responsible for new legislation and will supervise the election due next year, including determining which foreign observers to invite.

Mugabe, who has ruled the former British colony since independence in 1980, has said he plans to run for another 5-year term next year, his last under the constitution, when he will be 94.

In total, 10 cabinet ministers changed posts while two were dropped entirely.

– Reuters


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Politicoscope
By Politicoscope October 10, 2017 11:19

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Since You’re Here, We Would Like to ask You for Help

There are more readers worldwide reading the Politicoscope daily news content than ever before. Unlike many other news media organisations that charge their readers subscription fees for the same daily news content and features we offer you for free, we do not charge all our readers to pay any fee. We depend on online advertising to generate the revenues to fund all these great news content and exclusive features provided to you for free. Currently, advertising revenues are quickly falling which is affecting our ability to offer you free online news content.
If everyone who reads our news content, likes it and helps to support it, we can have future guarantee to offer you with the best daily news content and other amazing features, all for free.
"I visit Politicoscope everyday to read my daily news in world politics. I'm glad it's all for free. On my part, I'm happy to donate monthly so as to continue enjoying these free content because it's actually a small amount from me compared to paid subscriptions by other news organisations. I want to help Politicoscope grow more so that I and other readers can continue to have access to free and exclusive daily online news." - Denise H., from LA, USA.
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