President Emmerson Mnangagwa has castigated his ministers for failing to respect Cabinet business demanding real-time updates on the fight against the cholera epidemic ravaging Zimbabwe and the Sadc region.
Addressing the first Cabinet meeting for 2024 in Harare yesterday, Mnangagwa told ministers to restrict invitations for him to officiate at high priority events.
He called for decisive action to scale up efficiencies within all public institutions, in particular the public health system in the context of the cholera outbreak and climate change-induced threats.
“In the last session, I noticed an unbecoming trend where some members prioritise ministerial activities and neglect Cabinet business. This must stop forthwith. Cabinet business takes precedence over all other matters and attendance of Cabinet meetings is compulsory.
“The provision of clean water, sanitation facilities and waste management services are a priority. I expect real-time updates in that regard,” he said.
Mnangagwa also acknowledged disasters attributable to climate change and commended stakeholders for the successful rescue, treatment and care efforts mounted, following mine-related disasters.
“In line with our commitment to leave no one and no place behind, I am directing you all to focus on implementing transformative programmes that promote industrialisation, modernisation as well as rural development throughout the country. Prudent fiscal and monetary policies and the promotion of a conducive business environment remain critically important for the stability and growth of our economy.
“Accordingly, the fiscal and monetary authorities are implementing a raft of policy measures to arrest price increases, stabilise the foreign exchange rate, maintain the value of our currency and ultimately encourage savings,” he said.
He said all ministerial programmes should remain aligned with economic development priorities as outlined in the National Development Strategy 1.
“In addition, bureaucratic hurdles and silo mindsets, which hinder its implementation, must be removed while seamless processes should be nurtured to ensure that its co-ordination architecture is observed,” he said.
Mnangagwa said meetings of the NDS1 steering committees and thematic working groups must be represented at the proper levels.
“These must meet often and generate the requisite reports which show that stakeholder perspectives, including the private sector and development partners, are taken on board, prior to presentation to Cabinet.
“Citizens are the primary beneficiaries of our efforts, and open lines of communication with them should be maintained, including through active thematic working group discussions.
“Their input, support and expertise are invaluable in driving sustainable development and ensuring the success of our initiatives,” he said.
The President said reports of thematic working groups should also form a major part of Cabinet business as the government accelerate the implementation of the National Development Strategy 1.
“Regarding the specific Cabinet programme for this year, all outstanding items must be expeditiously tabled and conclusively decided during this first quarter,” he said.
“Let me once again state that issues requiring thorough consideration must be submitted as substantive items on the agenda and never under ‘any other business’.”
Mnangagwa constituted his Cabinet after a controversial win in the August 2023 harmonised elections that were condemned by several observers including missions from Sadc, the African Union, EU and the Carter Center.
He fired Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Affairs minister Christopher Mutsvangwa and Industry and Commerce deputy minister Roy Bhila.