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Zimbabwe's New President Names All-loyalist Cabinet


Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaks after being sworn in at the presidential inauguration ceremony in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe, Nov. 24, 2017.

Zimbabwe's new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has announced a 22-member Cabinet made up entirely of ruling party members, including two senior army officials. Legal experts say the new president might have made his first misstep in office.

Despite a promise to reach out to the opposition, Mnangagwa only appointed "loyalists,"according to Lovemore Madhuku, a law professor at the University of Zimbabwe.

Madhuku said that was expected. Mnangagwa had to pay back those who stood up for him after he was fired as vice president by Zimbabwe's longtime ruler, Robert Mugabe.

But Madhuku worries the new president has appointed more than the limit of five non-parliamentarians allowed under the constitution.

"It's unconstitutional," he said. "The constitution is very clear: you have a maximum of five people that are not from parliament. As long as a person is a minister and they will draw salary from the public purse, that person must be from parliament. We have seen that there are eight or 10. What is more disturbing is: why that will be done; the provision is clear. It has never been breached before."

Christopher Mutsvangwa, the newly-appointed minister of information, said he would not comment on the matter, as he has not been sworn into office.

Among the non-MPs Mnangagwa appointed is his foreign affairs minister, Major-General Sibusiso Moyo. It was Moyo who appeared on state TV November 15 to announce that the army had taken over state institutions.

Mugabe resigned six days later under intense pressure from the army and ruling ZANU-PF party.

In his inaugural speech, Mnangagwa promised to improve the country's human rights record and economy ahead of the 2018 elections, expected by the middle of the year.

Mnangagwa has not said whether he will run for a full term as president. Until those polls, he and his Cabinet will run Zimbabwe's affairs.

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