BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Della Matthews
"President Mugabe is now under huge pressure"
 real 28k

Saturday, 15 July, 2000, 20:25 GMT 21:25 UK
New look for Zimbabwe cabinet
Zimbabwe war veterans
War veterans were told to stay on the farms
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has announced his new cabinet, three weeks after the general election.

All 21 ministers in the greatly reduced cabinet are either members or supporters of the president's party, Zanu-PF.

Not included is the leader of the independence war veterans, Chenjerai Hunzvi, whose followers have occupied hundreds of white-owned farms in recent months.

Where we are on the farms there is no-one who is going to move us out of those farms

Chenjerai Hunzvi, war veterans' leader
In the elections at the end of June the opposition Movement for Democratic Change made big gains at the expense of the governing Zanu-PF party.

In a challenge to the government, Mr Hunzvi told squatters not to move off the land they have occupied, as the government has asked them to.

He said the target of 200 farms the government plans to transfer in the first tranche of land transfers was not enough.

Fresh look

The outgoing cabinet had 44 members, more than twice as many ministers as in the new cabinet.

Most of the ministers have not been in government before, as Mr Mugabe tries to portray a fresh image after 20 years in power.

Mr Mugabe appears to have given in to pressure both from international donors and domestic critics to reduce spending and abolish some of Zimbabwe's ministries.

Chenjerai Hiter Hunzvi
Hunzvi: Launched a direct challenge to the government
Over half of the new ministers were not returned to parliament in last month's elections - they are prominent business people and academics.

The key Finance Ministry is one of those headed by a well-respected businessman, Simba Makoni.

BBC Harare correspondent Joseph Winter says Mr Mugabe will be hoping that his new finance minister can attract the return of donors, who have cut off aid in recent years. But there are fears that he may not be allowed to take the tough political decisions needed to rescue Zimbabwe's economy.

The casualties

The most prominent casualty is former Minister of Justice Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was defeated in the recent elections.

Robert Mugabe
President Mugabe: A fresh look after 20 years in power
He was widely seen as a possible successor to Mr Mugabe, but his chances have been dealt a severe blow by his omission from the government.

Another loser is the most recent minister of lands, Kumbira Kangi, who is currently facing charges of corruption.

War veterans

Chenjerai Hitler Hunzvi's call on war veterans not to leave white-owned farms is a direct challenge to the Zimbabwean Government, who earlier said that war veterans occupying farms which are not part of the government's redistribution programme will be shifted elsewhere.

Vice-President Joseph Msika on Saturday announced the final phase in the government's controversial plans to take over white-owned farms and redistribute them to black peasant farmers.

At a news conference he said the government would start resettling black farmers on 200 white-owned farms.

Ugly mood

Mr Hunzvi, leader of the association of veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war in the 1970s, delivered a fiery and confrontational speech at a rally in Harare.

"Where we are on the farms there is no-one who is going to move us out of those farms."

Since February, war veterans have led landless blacks in the often violent occupation of 1,600 farms.

Mr Hunzvi said that no one should move until they were sure that the government's redistribution programme was working well.

Correspondents say the mood at the gathering was ugly. A black Zimbabwean journalist was beaten up because of his newspaper's perceived opposition to land redistribution.

At one point, Mr Hunzvi said any white farmer who opposed his followers would be buried "six feet under the ground".

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

15 Jul 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe land grab begins
26 Apr 00 | Africa
Who owns the land?
01 Jul 00 | Africa
Farm grabs 'stepped up'
06 Jul 00 | Africa
Opposition wants Mugabe impeached
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories