Perform or face axe, ministers told

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has warned underperforming ministers in his male-dominated Cabinet that they will be replaced by eloquent women as he warms up to the 50/50 gender equality system stipulated in the country’s Constitution.

Mnangagwa said this on Friday while officially opening an all-councillors indaba in Harare.

His utterances came soon after Mozambique’s Minister of State for Administration and Public Service, Ana Comoana, revealed that women in her country were now in top decision-making boards through implementation of the 50/50 gender parity system.

“I don’t know if I misunderstood, but the minister from Mozambique said they are on 50/50. Hallelujah saka tokundwawo (Should we be outdone?). But as more women come in, there is a threat to you. They are very eloquent, so beware,” he said.

Mnangagwa’s 21-member Cabinet only has five women.

“My government is aware of the need to reform the administrative model of the local government sector. To date, we have adopted a performance management system which has seen both council chairpersons and officials signing performance contracts.

In February, Mnangagwa railroaded his ministers, heads of State-owned entities and parastatals into signing performance contracts, a move some believed would foster good governance, although others were sceptical that it would succeed.

“This is one of many strategies we are instituting to entrench accountable, responsive and transparent performance across the public sector,” he said.

“We have 10 provinces, so I deliberately chose five male and five female Ministers of State. At the end of their term, I want to see who performed better. Should I continue putting men or should it be women? As a result, whichever side performs better, I must increase it.”

Political analyst Effie Ncube, however, said: “The entire government, including the President himself, is incompetent and underperforming. Had they been competent enough, the country would not have been in this political and economic crisis and worsening. Removing one or two ministers will not address the situation. What we need is a complete overhaul of the system.”

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