When President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed his current cabinet, hopes were high, they would help him deliver, not only because he had dumped the deadwood, but also because he had roped into his government technocrats.

The technocrats included Kirsty Coventry, Obediah Moyo, Winston Chitando, and not forgetting the much hyped professor Mthuli Ncube.

But according to President Mnangagwa, these have been reduced to mere benchwarmers, with the deadwood in full charge and running the show.

Hopes were high that the technocrats now in government, would say what politicians could not; call a spade, a spade and explain how and why the patient (economy) is dying and how it could be revived from the death-bed, but at least for now, that is not to be and/ or more likely will never to be.

Many who spoke to this publication in response to the appointments took it with a pinch of salt, saying the technocrats good as they look, would not be given room to flourish, to employ their expertise, as the politics of the day would run supreme.

Their fears were further cemented when the news filtered through, that the retired ‘old and tired horses’ have been deployed at the ruling party’s headquarters, tasked to oversee the cabinet ministers. The so-called ‘retirements’ became promotions as the deadwood now supervise the ministers.

To prove such speculations correct, it has come to the open, Mnangagwa has since confessed that the retired old guards are indeed the ones calling the shots, reducing the cabinet ministers, technocrats included, to mere ceremonial benchwarmers.

Mnangagwa recently assured the deadwood that they wielded immense power and influence over government programmes.

Addressing Zanu PF’s 111 central committee meeting last Friday, Mnangagwa said the ruling party was more supreme than government and would give directives to cabinet ministers.

“The supremacy of the party, as a philosophy, is the ideal position which we must concertedly work to achieve. Cognisant that government is a product of the party, we are all agreed that the party is supreme. The party came first, then the revolution came second,” he said.

Several long-serving former ministers, among them Patrick Chinamasa (Finance), Obert Mpofu (Home Affairs), Simon Khaya Moyo (Information) and Simbarashe Membengegwi (Foreign Affairs), were last year deployed to the party headquarters as supervisors to ministers, thereby taking over government business.

Meanwhile, there has been concerns among the ruling party’s young turks and some war veterans, that the old horses should be removed from the party’s headquarters. They say old guards have gone past their relevance.

At the same time, the deadwood were also said to be unhappy for being stripped off their cabinet posts, they felt demoted, but Mnangagwa reminded them that in fact, the deployments were indeed promotions, as they were superior to the ministers.

Over the years, Zimbabwe had had some of the best cabinet ministers, the likes of Bernard Chidzero, Denis Norman, Tendai Biti, even Patrick Chinamasa was a good finance minister, but was always on collision course with President Robert Mugabe, who believed in sacrificing the country’s economy for political expediency.

At one time, Chinamasa was embarrassed by Mugabe after he raised a red flag over civil servants bonuses, Chinamasa had said the government was broke and unable to pay the third cheque, but Mugabe ordered that the money had be found at all costs. In most cases Mugabe could order the printing of more money, causing inflation in the process.

Mugabe did not care if the short term solution could mean long term suffering of the people.

Mugabe’s economic system was premised on having a meal for the day only, therefore unsustainable. Mnangagwa also seems to have borrowed the same concept from his mentor, values partisan politics over national interest.

The notion that one should put national interest first, before personal interest or national interest ahead of party politics is not in Mnangagwa’s or ZANU-PF’s books. These guys put self interest ahead of national interest!