Zimbabwe’s new president has called for public unity to revive the African country’s ailing economy as his new cabinet took the oath of office.
Emmerson Mnangagwa made the appeal after he swore in the 22-member cabinet at State House in the capital Harare on Monday.
“I have sworn in a new cabinet just to finish the term of the former president, which is a period of six to seven months,” Mnangagwa said.
“I believe with my team we will stand up to the challenge,” the president added, noting, “I want them (Zimbabweans) to be united, we must grow our economy.”
Mnangagwa has drawn criticism for appointing officers from the military which played a key role in the events leading to his ascent to power. The cabinet includes Air Marshal Perrance Shiri, who was appointed agriculture and lands minister, and Major General Sibusiso Moyo, who is now in charge of foreign affairs.
He also brought back many faces from era of former president Robert Mugabe, a move which could disappoint Zimbabweans who had been expecting a broad-based government and a break with the past.
In addition, Mnangagwa also reinstated prosecutor general, Ray Goba, who was named under Mugabe in September, but whose appointment was rescinded the following month.
On November 23, Mugabe finally succumbed to pressures and stepped down after 37 years in power.
The resignation came several days after army chiefs put military vehicles on the streets of Harare and placed the 93-year-old leader under house arrest. Many Zimbabweans celebrated the end of Mugabe’s rule.
A day after, his sacked deputy, Mnangagwa, was sworn in as the country’s interim president, vowing sweeping changes and seeking to attract foreign investment to revive the moribund economy in the south African country.
The new president has issued a three-month ultimatum for the return of funds siphoned out of the country by individuals and corporates.
Mnangagwa is Zimbabwe’s second president since the country gained independence from British colonial rule in 1981.