Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa is facing allegations of nepotism and a surge of criticism after appointing his son, David Kudakwashe Mnangagwa, as the deputy finance minister in the newly reshuffled cabinet following his controversial re-election last month.
The move has sparked concerns about the presence of nepotism within the government and raised questions about transparency and fair governance. David Mnangagwa, aged 34, will serve as the deputy to Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube. Additionally, the President appointed his nephew, Tongai Mafidhi Mnangagwa, as the deputy minister of tourism and hospitality. These appointments were made as part of the newly constituted cabinet, which now comprises 26 ministries, as reported by local media.
Fadzayi Mahere, a vocal lawmaker from the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), voiced her criticism of President Mnangagwa’s cabinet appointments, labeling them as “indefensible.” She highlighted concerns about issues of legitimacy, corruption, violence, nepotism, incompetence, and ethical matters within the government.
In another eyebrow-raising move, President Mnangagwa appointed a husband and wife duo, Christopher and Monica Mutsvangwa, as ministers. Christopher Mutsvangwa will lead the newly established Ministry of Veterans of Liberation, while Monica Mutsvangwa assumes the role of the Minister of Women’s Affairs and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
David Mnangagwa, who recently graduated with a law degree from the University of Zimbabwe, entered parliament through the youth quota system, occupying a seat on the Zanu PF party list from the Midlands province. He is one of President Mnangagwa’s reported nearly two dozen children.
Tongai Mnangagwa currently serves as the Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Hunyani constituency. His late father, David Mnangagwa, was President Mnangagwa’s younger brother.
Reports also suggest that President Mnangagwa is contemplating an official role within his office for another of his sons, Emmerson Junior. Sources indicate that Emmerson Junior has already participated in the president’s meetings with foreign investors, with plans to formalize his role, possibly as an adviser or director.
This controversy comes on the heels of President Mnangagwa’s re-election, which has faced allegations of electoral irregularities from the opposition. Critics argue that his actions are contributing to the perception of dynastic politics in Africa, following in the footsteps of other leaders who have appointed family members to key government positions.
Notably, in Congo-Brazzaville, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso appointed his son Denis-Christel as a cabinet minister, fueling speculation about dynastic succession. Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang has had his son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, serve as vice president. Meanwhile, in Gabon, President Ali Bongo Ondimba succeeded his father Omar Bongo, who ruled for decades. Rwandan President Paul Kagame also appointed his daughter, Ange Kagame, to a prominent role in his office, adding to the ongoing conversation about political dynasties across the continent.