By Mutsa Makuvaza
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa today made several Cabinet and provincial Ministerial appointments to fill vacancies created as a result of deaths of top officials to COVID-19.
The new Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is Frederick Musiiwa Shava, filling the vacancy left by the death of former army General Sibusiso Busi Moyo.
The appointment of Shava is already generating intense discussion on social media, with many delving into his distant past to justify that he does not deserve a Cabinet post. Those supporting him are mainly digging into his record over the past twenty years as a respected diplomat.
Shava has shady past as, in the late 1980s, he was fired as cabinet minister for looting cars availed through a subsidised vehicle scheme meant to benefit senior government officials.
The scandal involved ministers buying luxurious Toyota Cressida vehicles from the government-controlled vehicle assembler, Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries, and reselling them at inflated prices.
He was arrested, tried and convicted of perjury. After his conviction, Shava was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment with no option of a fine, but Robert Mugabe acted swiftly and issued a presidential pardon 24 hours later.
“Who among us has not lied? Yesterday you were with your girlfriend and you told your wife that you were with the Prime Minister. Should you get nine months for that?” Mugabe queried as he freed Shava.
Shava, who is a close ally of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, was subsequently pardoned later gifted with a post the UN mission post by Mugabe after some time in the political wilderness.
In 2006, Shava was in the eye of another controversy when he attempted to loot agricultural equipment at a farm in Kwekwe in the Midlands province.
He had been allocated the farm under the fast track land redistribution programme that started in 2000 and forcibly removed some 6,000 commercial white farmers to make way for landless blacks.
Shava has worked as a Zimbabwean ambassador to China, a consultant on Zimbabwe’s Parliamentary reform, Minister of State for Political Affairs in 1987 and Minister of Labour, Manpower Planning and Development from 1981 to 1986.
Until his appointment to Cabinet today, Shava was the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Zimbabwe to the United Nations in New York. He also acquitted himself well as President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council from 2016.
Zimbabweans reacted to his appointment as follows:
Shava holds a Doctor of Philosophy and a Master of Philosophy in parasitology from Royal Holloway College; a Master of Science in Nematology from Imperial College; and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from University of Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development is now Felix Mhona, MP for Chikomba Central.
Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development is now Mike Madiro.
Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services is now Kindness Paradzai, a career journalist. – Zimbabwe Voice 🔺