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Zimbabwe Leader Mnangagwa Retains Ncube as Finance Minister in New Cabinet

Zimbabwe Leader Mnangagwa Retains Ncube as Finance Minister in New Cabinet
Mthuli Ncube, Zimbabwe's finance minister, poses for a photograph following an interview in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. On the eve of major protests, which were called by the main opposition party over plunging living standards, Ncube said the country would establish a Monetary Policy Committee within a month that will cut interest rates, begin selling bonds with maturities of as long as 30 years, and proceed with a plan to privatize everything from state telecommunications companies to timber plantations.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa kept Mthuli Ncube as finance minister in his new cabinet, which he unveiled two weeks after being named the winner of a disputed election, and named his son, Kuda, as Ncube’s deputy.  

Ncube’s reappointment was cast into doubt after he lost his bid for a parliamentary seat in Bulawayo, the second-largest city, to a candidate from the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change. Mnangagwa used a rule that lets him to include five non-elected officials in his executive to retain the finance chief, as he did when he initially appointed him to his post in September 2018.

Other key appointments announced at a briefing in Harare, the capital, on Monday include:

  • Soda Zhemu as mines minister.
  • Anxious Masuka was reappointed as agriculture minister.
  • Oppah Muchinguri was retained as defense minister

Read More: Zimbabwe Leader Sworn In for Second Term After Disputed Vote 

A former University of Oxford professor, Ncube was tasked with reviving an economy that fell into disarray during Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule — a brief he has struggled to fulfill. While he oversaw the re-introduction of the local currency in 2019 and initiated talks with Western creditors over the restructuring of the nation’s $18 billion debt, his efforts to raise living standards, create jobs and foster investment have born little fruit.

Speaking after he was sworn in for his second term on Sept. 4, Mnangagwa pledged to revive the manufacturing industry, ensure the country derives more benefit from its mineral wealth, prop up the Zimbabwean dollar and expand an infrastructure development program — priorities Ncube and his fellow ministers will be expected to champion.

Mnangagwa’s legitimacy remains in question, with international observers finding that the Aug. 23-24 election was deeply flawed and the CCC describing the process as a sham and calling for a rerun. The president and the ruling party have rejected the criticism.

Western-based creditors including the World Bank and European Investment Bank said they expect to resume debt restructuring talks with the country despite the disputed vote.

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