Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander, Constantino Guveya Dominic Nyikadzino Chiwenga, is set to become Vice President of Zimbabwe, as his incumbent top ally, Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has finally sailed through to succeed former President Robert Mugabe, amid claims that Chiwenga’s ascendancy to the presidium was a plan hitched since 2008.
Chiwenga will thus become the first highest ranking military chief in the country’s history, to assume the second most powerful office in the land, after his predecessor, the late General Vitalis Zvinavashe, came within a whisker of taking up the same office in 2004 following the death of VP Simon Muzenda who died on 20 September 2003.
Last year, an investigative online newspaper, The Spotlight Zimbabwe, exclusively predicted that a faction of Zanu PF aligned to Cde Mnangagwa, popular known as Team Lacoste would eventually ascend to power and that General Chiwenga would then be appointed a Vice President of Zimbabwe.
The paper further alleged that as part of the plans to see Mnangagwa taking over from Mugabe, team Lacoste and the army allegedly hired former Ethiopian president, Mengistu Haile Mariam, to become a Zimbabwean military consultant and help them achieve several goals.
“A thrilling grand political plan that has been brewing since 2008, reportedly mooted and involving former Ethiopian leader, Mengistu Haile Mariam now exiled in Zimbabwe after receiving asylum in 1991, who is said to be the brainchild of the scheme, as a hired national security consultant of the military. It has also come to light that the fallen Ethiopian autocrat, has been key in advising Zanu PF to militarise elections and civilian structures, as a way of consolidating power, resulting in the opposition MDC-T being denied power, especially eight years ago when Mugabe was beaten hands down by Morgan Tsvangirai, before a violent run-off orchestrated by the army saved the day for Zanu PF in second round voting,” the Spotlight reported.
“This is one of those things(Chiwenga’s vice presidency), which has been in the pipeline since the controversial 2008 elections, and now gathering steam from behind the scenes,” a top Zanu PF official who has served in cabinet reportedly told the newspaper.
“Mengistu was roped into play to give military consultancy services, while offering advise to government when needed. However he became a silent member of the Joint Operations Command, although not attending official meetings, and he has been holding important meetings to forward this agenda between 2008 -2013 either at his Gunhill mansion in Harare or his farms in Mazowe and Vumba.”
In April 2015, General Chiwenga acquired PhD in Ethics with the South Africa’s University of Kwazulu Natal. THis was a year after Grace was controversially awarded a PhD by the University of Zimbabwe in September 2014, less than three months after she was reported to have enrolled for the course of study.
Last year, sources within the Mugabe-led government said Chiwenga’s plans to acquire a PhD was enough evidence to prove that he was aiming a higher office
“This is one of those things(Chiwenga’s vice presidency), which has been in the pipeline since the controversial 2008 elections, and now gathering steam from behind the scenes,” said a top Zanu PF official who has served in cabinet.
“Mengistu was roped into play to give military consultancy services, while offering advise to government when needed. However he became a silent member of the Joint Operations Command, although not attending official meetings, and he has been holding important meetings to forward this agenda between 2008 -2013 either at his Gunhill mansion in Harare or his farms in Mazowe and Vumba. People in his shoes do not just study for fun. It could be the case that he is aiming for a higher leadership office, and to hold such nowadays University qualifications play a role,” the sources said.
A few days ago, several analysts interviewed by the Daily News said it will not be surprising that Chiwenga could secure one of the vice presidents’ post after the army chief played a pivotal role in a military operation, which toppled Mugabe and ushered in Mnangagwa.
The appointment of air marshal Perence Shiri and Major General Sibusiso Moyo into Mnangagwa’s first Cabinet have largely been interpreted as his show of gratitude to the military for clearing his way to State House. As such, he might reward Chiwenga with the vice presidency.
Social commentator, Rashweat Mukundu, believes there is a high possibility that Chiwenga will emerge as vice president at the congress.
“He is raising a wave of popularity not only in Zanu-PF but nationally and Zanu-PF may look at him as an asset come the 2018 elections,” said Mukundu.