Vice President and retired Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) chief General Constantino Chiwenga’s appointment as defence minister brings full circle a sinister scheme by the military to push out former President Robert Mugabe for selfish reasons, opposition parties have said.

President Mnangagwa flanked by his Vice Presidents General Constantino Chiwenga (Rtd) (left) and Kembo Mohadi after the pair’s swearing-in ceremony at State House in Harare. —(Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)

Reacting to the decision by new President Emmerson Mnangagwa to shunt co-new Vice President Kembo Mohadi from the defence portfolio to the less glamorous national healing department, the parties said Chiwenga has shown “who the real power behind the throne is”.

“It has always been clear that Chiwenga is the real power behind the throne. It’s pretty obvious that he wields tremendous power and influence in the Mnangagwa administration,” said opposition MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu.

“He is being rewarded for masterminding Mnangagwa’s ascendancy to the presidency. This administration has got a very strong military flavour. This is the reason why Chiwenga has been given responsibility over the defence ministry.

“Real power actually lies with the military. They are the power brokers”.

Kurauone Chihwayi of the Welshman Ncube-led MDC spokesperson said Chiwenga’s amassing of the most powerful portfolios leaves people with no doubt that Mugabe’s removal was no accident.

“This will leave many tongues wagging and doubting Thomases in jubilation because his (Chiwenga’s) appointment to the vice presidency is good enough to answer those who thought that the military intervened to save the country,” he said.

“This has proven that it was a scheme by those inside and outside Zanu PF to fast track military people to presidium. It is now clear that they pushed Mugabe out for themselves.”

“Mnangagwa has surrounded himself with fierce Generals wearing a sheep skin.”

Gift Nyandoro of the National People’s Party (NPP) said Chiwenga’s appointment represents a classic reward to him by Mnangagwa for masterminding the coup which facilitated the new President’s rise to power.

“In essence, ED (Mnangagwa) is not in control of the present government dynamics; it’s the army that is calling shots.

“Secondly, Chiwenga’s appointment is simply a consolidation of military position into the matrix of civilian politics.

“The fact as things stand out is that Zimbabwe is now under military rule with Mnangagwa as the face conveniently placed as president for purposes of sanitising a coup governance product,” Nyandoro said.



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