Zimbabwe opposition promises push for reform after new cabinet revealed

Opposition activists in Zimbabwe have said they will launch a fresh campaign to bring democratic reforms to the impoverished southern African country after the new president announced a fresh cabinet with key roles for veterans of the ruling Zanu-PF party and senior soldiers but no posts for the opposition.

Emmerson Mnangagwa took power after a military takeover and popular protests ousted Robert Mugabe last week, and many had hoped the 75-year-old would give leading opposition politicians significant roles in an “inclusive” government in line with his promises to reach out to all “patriotic Zimbabweans” and build a “full democracy”.

Opposition figures and activists reacted strongly to the announcement. Tendai Biti, a former finance minister and opposition politician, called the move a betrayal.

“We are now dealing with a junta. We have the answer to if the coup was done to give Zimbabwe a chance or to protect the private interests of certain individuals and the ruling party,” Biti said.

“Now we the citizens have to regroup and [fight] for a normal elected political authority.”

Doug Coltart, a human rights activist, said the new cabinet did not represent a new Zimbabwe but “the entrenchment of the old failed political elite”.