AFRICANGLOBE – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Sunday decided to relieve seven more government officials of their posts.
Mugabe’s Chief Secretary, Misheck Sibanda, said the decision would take immediate effect.
“It had become apparent that their [the fired officials’] conduct and performance were below the expected standard and outcome,” Sibanda said in a statement.
Sibanda, also the cabinet’s chief secretary, noted that the seven government officials fired included Minster of State in the Vice-President’s Office, Sylvester Nguni, and Deputy Health Minister, Paul Chimedza.
He said Deputy Lands Minister, Tendai Savanhu, had also been shown the exit door.
Savanhu is alleged to have financed a militant group affiliated with Zimbabwe’s ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front, the Chipangano ring, which is notorious for inflicting terror on opposition activists in the Zimbabwean capital Harare.
The gang’s leader, Jimmy Kunaka, was attacked by unknown assailants a few days ahead of the party’s congress in early December.
By firing the seven officials, Mugabe, now on his annual leave in the Far East, is changing his country’s political terrain and taking further steps on the road of purging the faction associated with former Vice-President Joyce Mujuru.
Earlier this month, the President vowed to act on corruption allegations raised by his wife, Grace Mugabe.
He did this by firing senior government officials and cabinet ministers, but analysts say the move was taken in retaliation for allegations that Mujuru had plotted with some government officials to assassinate the President.
Zimbabwe’s political analysts are in deep search for the reasons why the President is in such a hurry to make crucial decisions.
Joy Mabenge, a Harare-based analyst, believes that something had “terribly” gone wrong with Zimbabwean politics.
“There is unprecedented urgency to complete the purges,” Mabenge said.
“Such fundamental decisions, as firing cabinet ministers, cannot be made or communicated by remote control,” he added.
He said the biggest fear was that there was a real possibility that President Mugabe was no longer in control.
“He is probably now a conveyer belt, communicating game politics in an un-statesman-like manner,” Mabenge said.
Mugabe will become 91 in February of next year and might make history by becoming the world’s oldest candidate to run for the presidential office in 2018.
Analysts say, however, that Mugabe is “fast preparing” for departure.
“Mugabe is very swift now and could be preparing for departure from office,” political analyst Charles Mangongera said.
Nonetheless, some commentators think the purge is being orchestrated by newly-appointed Vice-President, Emerson Mnangagwa, who replaced his rival, Joyce Mujuru, as the first Vice-President earlier this month.
The purge has seen the likes of former intelligence minister, Didymus Mutasa, losing both his government post and party position.
“We speak for democracy, maybe,” said former Minister of State in the President’s office, Didymus Mutasa.
“That is the reason why we have been targeted,” he added.
Mutasa said he had approached South African President, Jacob Zuma, to ask him to intervene, given the fact that his country holds the rotating presidency of the Southern African Development Community, a regional economic community comprising 15 member states.