Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa has named the former army chief who led a coup that ended Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule, as one of his two deputies in the ruling party, the presidency said.
Presidential press secretary George Charamba said in a statement, retired general Constantino Chiwenga and long-serving state security minister Kembo Mohadi were appointed as Mnangagwa’s deputies in the Zanu-PF party “with immediate effect.”
The party appointment is a first step in their elevation to state vice presidents.
Born in 1956, General Chiwenga joined the guerrilla war against white minority rule in the then Rhodesia as a teenager and got military training in Mozambique and Tanzania.
After independence, he received British training, as a new army, made up of ex-guerrillas and soldiers of the former white minority regime, was formed.
Adopting the war name of “Dominic Chinenge, Chiwenga rose through the ranks to become a Provincial Commander for Masvingo/Gaza Province deputised by George Chiweshe who was the Provincial Commissar.
On the formation of Zimbabwe Defence forces (ZDF) in 1994 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and was appointed commander of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA).
Upon the retirement of General Vitalis Zvinavashe in 2004, he was promoted to the rank of Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
Chiwenga retired this week, slightly over a month after the military temporarily took control of the country on November 15 as internal feuding escalated in Zanu-PF over then-president Mugabe’s succession.
Zimbabwe military leader Chiwenga set to join politics https://t.co/PhWNFvqmjd
— africanews (@africanews) December 19, 2017
The takeover which the army said was targeting criminals around the president came days after the 93-year-old leader had fired then deputy Mnangagwa who has strong military ties and was widely tipped as the likely successor.
Mnangagwa has since appointed two to military officials as minsiters and also assigned them roles in ZANU-PF’s governing Politurbo.