When one is appointed cabinet minister , the individual’s social standing immediately changes and he is reserved the VIP section at social, religious and political events.
Society assumes these individuals are very powerful and literally dictates goings on in their ministries.
However, it has emerged that far from our assumptions, ministers do not have absolute power but they are mere facades who play a ceremonials role.
They are ‘toothless bulldogs’ so to speak!
The trial of former Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) board chair has brought about a shocking revelation of the duties and mandates carried out by cabinet ministers as former energy minister, Dzikamai Mavhaire testified.
Mavhaire revealed that ministers’ role is nothing more than that of monitors or foremen handpicked by the president at his pleasure without explaining to anyone the reasons thereof for handpicking them, to report to him on happenings in parastatals without necessarily giving his input.
“I had no say in what was happening at ZPC in line with the Gwanda solar project but I did have three members from the board reporting directly to me on meetings and deliberations that would have been made,” said Mavhaire.
“When CVs of possible companies to go to tender came forward, they would first be vetted by the sitting board after which they would be submitted to the central intelligence office which scrutinised them thoroughly and give them back.
They, (the CIO) had the powers to remove other companies from the list.
“At this point, I would then take it to the office of the cabinet and president where further vetting would be applied before it would finally be submitted to the president who could also remove other companies as he saw fit and make any deliberations being the highest office.
“I had no powers whatsoever to make any deliberations unless I had instructions to that effect and neither did the board possess those powers, a tender board was in place to give tenders to the selected companies.”
Through this testimony it becomes apparent that the role of the minister is simply to oversee the goings on in parastatals which fall under the ministry and report to his superior, the president, who would make deliberations assuming the entire weight of the nation falling heavily on one man, who is voted into power by the general populace on the basis of how much they like the political party and the individual.
There is no scrutiny of professional qualifications to try and determine the capability of the voted individual in determining the fate of the entire nation as there are high chances of them simply choosing candidates to hold ministerial positions by how loyal they are and how they can be easily controlled to serve their whims.
However, in the event that the president feels that his authority is being undermined and not felt and that his power is not being noticed, a cabinet reshuffle takes place, recycling the ‘overseers’ he put in place, removing the ones who do not best serve (his interests) his government, a similar case with Mavhaire.
Mavhaire narrated his ordeal with the termination of his contract as the energy minister.
“I did not have any powers neither did the ZPC board, when the one with all the power decides that you are not serving his purpose, a scenario like mine would happen,” he said.
“A letter came to me during midnight simply saying ‘your contract has been terminated with immediate effect, thank you for your good service to the government, it is appreciated, signed R.G. Mugabe’, if you remember that man from Kutama.”
This becomes a shocking revelation to the millions of Zimbabweans who wait eagerly for the announcement of cabinet ministers hoping the system will change and bring a dramatic turn around in the odds of the nation.
Often times, the masses are angry at the ministers after they would have failed to deliver in government regardless of their qualifications which are almost always enticing, could it be that they are just overseers and mouthpieces for the president without necessarily having a say in what goes on in government?
However,contrary to Mavhaire’s submissions , some ministers have usurp power and overstep their mandate amassing wealth in the process.
We have had cases of ministers handpicking parastatals’ CEOs and awarding their allies with lucrative contracts.
Some former ministers are known to rent houses and flats and that is strange!!
Even Mavhaire himself at one time he was relegated to a potatoes vendor in Masvingo.