By Buhle Tshavango
Newly appointed Minister of Labour and social welfare, Petronella Kagonye has wasted no time in getting the ball rolling in her new post barely a week after her swearing-in she has already warmed up to her portfolio.
As part of government’s effort to bring a family environment within orphanages by transforming children’s homes from dormitory style to home-restyled, Hon Kagonye who attended the handover of two residential stands worth over $2 million by Mimosa mining company, commended Shungudzevana home in Harare for taking on this initiative as it would contribute to the well being of orphans if they grew up in a family setup.
Formerly the Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Kagonye came into cabinet as an afterthought after the post had been initially given to Clever Nyathi, however her seemingly smooth assimilation may be attributed to her prior experience working in Government.
Her smooth transition might be simply seen by some to be the result of a thorough hand over- take over situation; however the same cannot be said of all ministers in the new cabinet as evidenced by a vague two-minute presentation delivered by the new Mines minister Winston Chitando during an event recently.
Hon Kagonye already has been confronted with the hot issues of labour and questioned on the controversial topic of retiring unpopular Tobaiwa Mudede who is above the age of 65 during a question and answer session in Parliament, Kagonye in his defence said Mudede would remain in office as it was not prudent to retire people on the basis of their age, adding that Government would soon ratify the African Protocol on older parties calling on state parties to respect their rights to employment.
Minister Kagonye who is also a member of Parliament has a portfolio filled with trending issues that need to be urgently addressed, and as government plans to retire older civil servants by January 2018, hers is an unpopular task.