On Monday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa came under fire for appointing his son, David Kudakwashe Mnangagwa, as the deputy finance minister in a new cabinet following his re-election.
The move has sparked major concerns about nepotism within the government.
David Mnangagwa, 34, is set to serve as the deputy to Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, while the president’s nephew, Tongai Mafidhi Mnangagwa, was also named deputy minister of tourism and hospitality. This decision is part of the newly constituted cabinet consisting of 26 ministries, local media reported.
A lawmaker from the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Fadzayi Mahere, criticized President Mnangagwa’s cabinet, describing it as “indefensible.” She highlighted concerns about legitimacy, corruption, violence, nepotism, incompetence, and ethical issues within the government.
In another move that raised eyebrows, President Mnangagwa appointed a husband and wife team, Christopher and Monica Mutsvangwa, as ministers. Christopher Mutsvangwa will lead the new ministry of Veterans of Liberation, while Monica Mutsvangwa is the new minister of Women’s Affairs and SMEs.
David Mnangagwa, who recently graduated with a law degree from the University of Zimbabwe, entered parliament through the youth quota system on the Zanu PF party list from Midlands province. He is one of President Mnangagwa’s reported nearly two dozen children.
Tongai Mnangagwa is the Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Hunyani constituency. His late father, David Mnangagwa, was President Mnangagwa’s younger brother.
Reports point to President Mnangagwa also considering an official role in 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, and there are plans to formalize his role, possibly as an adviser or director.
This new controversy comes on the heels of President Mnangagwa’s re-election amid opposition claims of electoral irregularities. According to critics, his actions are contributing to a perception of dynastic politics in Africa, following the footsteps of other leaders who have appointed family members to key government positions.
President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville, for instance, 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, while in Gabon, President Ali Bongo Ondimba succeeded his father Omar Bongo, who ruled for decades.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame appointed his daughter, Ange Kagame, to a key role in his office, adding to the conversation about political dynasties on the continent.