PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s decision to fire his long-blundering Information deputy minister Energy Mutodi on Wednesday did not come as a surprise because that decision was long overdue given the many incidents of embarrassing gaffes by the former junior minister.

NewsDay Comment

Like we indicated before, Mutodi had indeed crossed the rubicon with his unflattering remarks about Tanzanian President John Magufuli, his public spat with Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo and the latest incident in which he claimed in an embarrassing tweet that tortured MDC youth leaders Joanah Mamombe, Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri had gone out for a “romantic night” with artisanal miners in Bindura when they were bludgeoned and left for dead in a vicious political attack.

He went on to label them prostitutes, the same word he used last year against MDC activist Sekai Marashe after she was brutally assaulted by suspected State security agents and Zanu PF militia in Kwekwe.

Such a reckless minister would be an embarrassing loose cannon and any government worth the name would have acted on that sooner or later. Against this backdrop, Mutodi’s removal from government is a welcome move. But over and above that, the whole embarrassing development vividly illustrates the folly of appointing uncouth, unqualified and undeserving individuals to key government ministries and posts.

Cronyism must have no place in government as it amounts to corruption, incompetence and general maladministration that have become the hallmark of Mnangagwa’s administration in the so-called new dispensation. People that have no business in government, who should be in some nightclub in downtown Harare dancing to rhumba music, are assigned key tasks in government. It is just scandalous as we have seen in the Mutodi saga.

This development should serve as a lesson so that in future, we are more prudent and thoughtful in the selection of key public officials. While it is not a secret that many people end up in government because of their allegiance or loyalty to those entrusted with political power, wisdom behoves us to select people who will diligently carry out their duties and not bring embarrassment to the appointing authority.

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