Nepotism has once again become a topic of heated debate in Zimbabwe after President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed his family members to prominent positions in his government.
Critics argue that these appointments indicate a blatant attempt to create a family dynasty and consolidate power.
Just days after conferring an honorary doctorate upon his wife, Mnangagwa announced that his son, David Kudakwashe Mnangagwa, would become the deputy finance minister. Additionally, he appointed his nephew, Tongai, as deputy minister in the tourism ministry. These appointments have sparked outrage among Zimbabweans and the opposition, who see them as clear examples of nepotism.
What is particularly alarming about David Kudakwashe Mnangagwa’s appointment is that he has no prior experience in government. While he does have a background in finance as an actuary and has served on a bank board, this does not necessarily qualify him for a high-ranking position in the Treasury. Furthermore, he recently graduated with a law degree, raising questions about his qualifications for this role.
It is worth noting that David Kudakwashe Mnangagwa, 34, came into parliament through a youth quota, which aims to increase representation of young people. However, members selected through this quota are handpicked by their respective parties, raising concerns about transparency and impartiality in the selection process.
The backlash against these appointments has been swift and vocal. Many Zimbabweans and members of the opposition took to social media to express their anger and frustration. They argue that Mnangagwa is not only failing to address the issue of nepotism but is actively promoting it by appointing his family members to key positions of power. This has further eroded public trust in the government and its commitment to democracy.
This controversy has been compounded by the disputed election results that brought Mnangagwa back into power. The opposition has labelled the election a “gigantic” fraud, while international observer missions have criticised the polls for falling short of international standards.
Opposition MP Fadzayi Mahere has expressed concerns regarding the recent cabinet announcements, citing potential nepotism and a lack of adherence to good governance. The Citizens Coalition for Change has also released a statement expressing worry over the appointment of President Mnangagwa’s son.
Mnangagwa has faced criticism for increasing the number of ministers in his cabinet, with some analysts suggesting that a smaller cabinet would be more appropriate. Additionally, the reappointment of underperforming ministers, such as Kirsty Coventry, has drawn widespread criticism.
Mnangagwa has defended his choices and suggested that those who are unhappy with his appointments should appoint their own ministers.