By Nkosana Dlamini
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed ex-ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa as Zanu PF spokesperson, something that sees the fiery politician and wife, Monica taking charge of the key information portfolios in both party and government.
Monica is the country’s current information minister.
In a politburo reshuffle announced Wednesday, Mnangagwa – also Zanu PF president – looked to have continued with his bid to retire unwell former Education Minister Cain Mathema whom he has moved to replace.
But it is the appointment of Chris Mutsvangwa as party secretary for information and publicity that could be deliberate.
Mutsvangwa, known for effusive English language and short temper, is a die-hard defender of both Zanu PF and Mnangagwa.
The often-undiplomatic former Zimbabwe diplomat to China is a trusted Mnangagwa ally.
Mutsvangwa was defacto mouthpiece of the November 2017 military assisted coup that replaced then President Robert Mugabe with the now incumbent.
He has always been a preferred choice for Zanu PF’s propaganda, having been briefly roped in by Mugabe 2008 as party spokesperson when the then leader came under siege for refusal to step down when all pointed to his shock defeat by then opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
His deployment as party spokesperson as the country enters the election homestretch could be strategic match to a prying media and foes, sure to put Zanu PF under a tough accountability test ahead of the crucial poll.
Said Mutsvangwa during a press conference Wednesday, “The Information and Publicity field is not new to me, I used to be part of ZBC back in the days with some of our senior media personnel here present, the likes of Cde Rueben Barwe and others behind the cameras, all I can say is that I feel happy to be back home.”
In other politburo deployments, Mnangagwa appointed his wife Auxillia as secretary for environment and tourism.
Said Zanu PF on its Twitter handle, “Our first Lady Cde Auxillia Mnangagwa was appointed the Secretary for Environment and Tourism, she was previously the Deputy and now replaces Cde Prisca Mupfumira.”
Mike Bimha becomes party National Political Commissar while Monica Mutsvangwa has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Transport and Social Welfare.
Current justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has been appointed Secretary for Information Communication Technology while Alice Dube has been appointed Politburo member replacing Mathema who has been unwell for months.
Senator Monica Mavhunga has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Education while Judith Ncube has been appointed Politburo member representing Bulawayo Province.