HARARE – New Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to form a new cabinet this week, with all eyes on whether he breaks with the past and names a broad-based government or selects old guard figures from Robert Mugabe’s era.

Of particular interest is his choice of finance minister to replace Ignatius Chombo, who was among members of a group allied to Mugabe and his wife, Grace, who were detained and expelled from the ruling party. Chombo is facing corruption charges and is due to appear in court for a bail hearing on Monday.

In a tentative sign that he might do things differently, Zanu-PF cut the budget for a special congress to be held next month and also slashed the duration by half from six days, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported on Monday.

Mnangagwa was sworn in as president last Friday after 93-year-old Mugabe quit under pressure from the military.

He vowed to rebuild Zimbabwe’s ravaged economy and serve all citizens. But behind the rhetoric, some Zimbabweans wonder whether a man who loyally served Mugabe for decades can bring change to a ruling establishment accused of systematic human rights abuses and disastrous economic policies.

“The composition of the new government will show a clear path whether we continue with the status quo or the clear break with the past that we need to build a sustainable state. It’s a simple choice,” said former finance minister and opposition leader Tendai Biti.

GALLERY: A new leader for Zimbabwe

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