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.
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. 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,” said opposition MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu.
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. 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,” he said.
“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.
The NPP spokesperson said added that Mohadi was not a suitable candidate to drive national healing and reconciliation.
“As for the appointment of Mohadi, it’s unfortunate that he has been given to administer National Peace and Reconciliation portfolio; a ministry that is central to the uniting of Zimbabweans from all walks of life given the man’s political history and standing. Such key ministry is not for window dressing but should ensure closure to Gukurahundi atrocities and political violence perpetrated in the long sleeve and short sleeve era (2008 political violence. The appointments are a classical political regression of a society that is desperate to move forward post Mugabe era which was characterised with political disappearances and disregard of the rule of law. With the heavy military presence in ED administration any hope for free and fair elections has drastically diminished,” Nyandoro added.
– New Zimbabwe