A special delegation of senior military officials reportedly told Chinese generals that President Emmerson Mnangagwa's political reign will expire in 2020, and that he was going to be an interim caretaker president up to the period, before the military replaces him with their preferred successor, a few days prior to former leader Robert Mugabe's November 2017 coup, Spotlight Zimbabwe, can reveal.
According to a Zimbabwean military attache stationed in Beijing at the time when former Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander and now vice president, Rtd General Constantino Chiwenga, visited China between November 8 to November 10 2017, shortly before Mugabe was ousted from office, an elite delegation comprising officials from the army and air force travelling with VP Chiwenga told their Chinese counterparts that Mnangagwa would be in power "for no more than three years" as a "stopgap measure" to stabilise the country, with a Zimbabwean general likely to takeover until 2023 to finish off Mnangagwa's presidential term and then handover the country to a civilian leadership.
Chiwenga's trip to China in 2017, which was initially reported to be a medical check-up that had coincided with a "normal military exchange mutually agreed upon by China and Zimbabwe" has hitherto been shrouded in mystrey.
The VP met with General Li Zuocheng, a member of China's Central Military Commission, which is the highest decision-making body for China's armed forces, together with that country's former defense minister General Chang Wanquan. Wanquan was succeeded by General Wei Fenghe, who was appointed to head China's defense ministry in March 2018.
"Mnangagwa's days in office are now numbered," said the military attache. "Most Zimbabweans are not aware that Mnangagwa's tenure as president was discussed before the November coup that toppled Mugabe. An elite delegation of military officers travelling with Chiwenga met with Chinese generals, who were told that the current leader will be in power for no more than three years. Our military sees him (Mnangagwa) as a stopgap measure for stability, and he is just but a figurehead with no real power. His presidency expires in 2020, and we are going to see a retired general taking over soon to finish his term, like what Mnangagwa did to Mugabe. The military general coming in will then lay the ground for a civilian leader agreed upon by the Joint Operations Command. They already have four former ministers' names who served under Mugabe in mind. This is the shock you people can't see coming."
Mnangagwa is a product of the November 15 2017 early morning national television announcement by Rtd Lieutenant-General Sibusiso Moyo, who his now the country's foreign affairs minister. Moyo in announcing the "military intervention" said Mugabe and family were safe and that the army was going after criminals in his government.
"Mugabe, and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed," he said. "We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country … As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy," Moyo added.
Spotlight Zimbabwe, was the first publication to report about Mnangagwa becoming Zimbabwe president approximately a year before he dislodged Mugabe in a putsch.
This publication and reporter also accurately reported that VP Chiwenga was on his way to become vice president, before his official appointment by Mnangagwa in our online edition of 18 March 2016.
Today we can also report with certainty, that Mnangagwa is on his embarassing way out of power and that a new leader from the military is being prepared to dethrone him. Spotlight Zimbabwe, also has it on good authority that VP Chiwenga and his successor ZDF Commander, General Philip Valerio Sibanda, alongside their inner circle, worked out all possible power scenarios before the execution of the coup and that China has been kept in the loop of all new developments.
Intelligence information at hand also suggests that the army is reportedly not happy with Mnangagwa's failure to fix the economy and that he has allegedly been signing off the country's mineral resources and land assets for a song without their approval.
It is also coming to light that former defence minister under Mugabe, Sydney Sekeramayi, has been playing allegiance to the military before and after the November 2017 coup, and could be earmarked for a slot in the presidium order of a looming post-Mnangagwa administration.
Defence minister, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, was not reachable throughout the week for comment as her mobile phone remained unreachable.