Chitepo blues


The local press seems to have a deliberate tendency to make everything regarding senior government officials sound so noble. Information Minister Victoria Chitepo retired nobly becoming the first minister in the country’s history to voluntarily do so.

Indeed that was a noble gesture but what was not pointed out were a number of coincidences that seem to imply that she had no choice, and was perhaps forced to retire or face the embarrassment of being a minister without a ministry, which does not seem to bother a number of her colleagues who are heading departments.

Was it a coincidence that Chitepo retired right at the end of the government financial year making it very easy for Chidzero and his officers to phase out the ministry which some say will be the case?

Was it a coincidence that she retired at the same time some 72 posts in her Department of Information were being abolished with some employees being retrenched or where these posts were vacant, being frozen?

If she had stayed what was she going to do since the ministry is being reduced to a department under the Ministry of Home Affairs, which sources say will ultimately not have more than 50 employees?

These are all hypothesis being thrown around but as pointed out in The Insider in March, it had already been agreed that the Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications be scrapped with some employees being attached either to the Ministry of Home Affairs or Foreign affairs and of course the PTC standing on its own as a profit making parastatal.

If she did indeed retire, then there must be one big question Political Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa will have to answer. He has argued all along that ministers cannot resign (to reduce the size of the cabinet) because this would be an embarrassment to President Mugabe who appointed them in the first place. One wonders whether it is a privilege for a minister to be fired by the President as that remains the only alternative.

If retirement, as opposed to resignation, is acceptable most of the ministers should simply retire. After all most of them are of retirement age and this would be much more nobler….


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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