President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe has stirred controversy by appointing his son, David Kudakwashe Mnangagwa, as the deputy finance minister in his newly formed cabinet following re-election.
David, having recently earned a law degree from the University of Zimbabwe, will assume the role of deputy to Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, who happens to be a cousin of the president. David’s entry into parliament came via the youth quota system on the Zanu PF party list, representing the Midlands province. He is counted among the nearly two dozen children of President Mnangagwa.
Also, the President’s nephew, Tongai Mafidhi Mnangagwa, has been named the deputy minister for tourism and hospitality. He currently serves as the Member of Parliament for the Hunyani constituency under the Zanu PF banner. His late father, David Mnangagwa, was the younger brother of President Mnangagwa.
In response, Fadzayi Mahere, a legislator affiliated with the Citizens Coalition for Change, has vehemently criticized President Mnangagwa’s cabinet appointments, characterizing them as “indefensible.”
Mahere cited issues of legitimacy, corruption, violence, nepotism, incompetence, and ethical concerns within the government.
In a further controversial move, President Mnangagwa appointed a husband and wife team, Christopher and Monica Mutsvangwa, as ministers. Christopher has been entrusted with leading the newly established Ministry of Veterans of Liberation, while Monica Mutsvangwa assumes the role of minister of Women’s Affairs and SMEs.
The President’s decisions are likely to fuel debate and scrutiny in Zimbabwe’s political landscape.
There are reports indicating that President Mnangagwa is also contemplating an official role within his office for another of his sons, Emmerson Junior. Sources suggest that Emmerson Junior has already taken part in the President’s meetings with foreign investors, and there are plans to formalize his position, potentially as an adviser or director.
This is coming in the aftermath of President Mnangagwa’s re-election, which faced opposition claims of electoral irregularities.
These appointments, announced on Monday, have sparked widespread criticism, with citizens expressing concerns about nepotism within the government. The move comes as part of a reshuffled cabinet comprising 26 ministries.
Critics argue that these actions contribute to a perception of dynastic politics in Africa, mirroring the practices of other leaders who have appointed family members to significant government positions.
For instance, in Congo-Brazzaville, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso appointed his son Denis-Christel as a cabinet minister, sparking discussions about dynastic succession. Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang has seen his son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, serve as Vice President. Similarly, in Gabon, President Ali Bongo Ondimba succeeded his father, Omar Bongo, who ruled for decades.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame also appointed his daughter, Ange Kagame, to a prominent role in his office, further fueling the conversation surrounding political dynasties on the continent.