Vice President, Rtd General Constantino Chiwenga, is reportedly preparing to take Zimbabwe power either this year, or no later than August 2021, amid new reports that the military has agreed to a transitional takeover by the VP, to ease President Emmerson Mnangagwa out of office for his dismal economic failure, Spotlight Zimbabwe, can exclusively reveal.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), this week warned that “a major humanitarian crisis” threatens Zimbabwe, together with “a prolonged and severe food insecurity” situation, at a time the Bretton Woods Institution is forecasting almost zero growth in Harare’s topsy-turvy economy.
According to high level military and diplomatic sources, the country’s security chiefs under the auspices of the Joint Operations Command (JOC), recently agreed to elevate their former boss Chiwenga to the presidency, and expect him to run the country for about two to two and a half years on a transitional accord, before Zimbabwe’s next presidential and parliamentary elections slated for around July 2023.
Under the brewing military dispensation designed to save the nation from utter economic and political disaster, to usher in a civilian government post July 2023, Mnangagwa is expected to tender his resignation and pave way for Chiwenga to finish off his term, in a fashion reminiscent of how Mnangagwa himself finished former President Robert Mugabe’s incomplete office tenure between 24 November 2017- 30 July 2018.
The VP is also said to have received the political support and endorsement of three world powers namely: China, Russia and India. In a symbolic gesture, the European Union (EU) a fortnight ago suspended sanctions on Chiwenga, as it now looks increasingly a done deal that the former Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander, might be taking power soon.
This publication and reporter, was the first to report about VP Chiwenga’s ascendancy to his current position on 18 March 2016, when he was still then the defence forces boss. Our same informants maintain that Chiwenga, is now poised to become president at a moment’s notice.
Former cabinet minister, Jonathan Moyo, on Wednesday told Spotlight Zimbabwe, in a wide ranging interview, that army generals are pushing a multi-million dollar deal for Mnangagwa to resign. Moyo said Mnangagwa is ready to accept the deal, since the message was relayed to him by Chiwenga during a surprise visit he made to his farm in Kwekwe on vacation, when the VP was acting president early last month.
The former higher and tertiary education minister has promised to post a twitter thread today, which is a follow up on his January 29 tweet which said that “this February is threatening to replace November as the month of momentous events!”
Moyo’s twitter thread will unpack the tweet and developments that took place in the country in February.
“JOC met soon after VP Chiwenga returned from China last November to deal with the urgent Mnangagwa replacement issue,” senior officials in the ministry of defence said last week.
“The meeting took place at the defence college just before the ruling Zanu PF’s 18th National People’s Conference in Goromonzi. A group of army commanders had actually wanted Mnangagwa to announce his departure date during that party conference in Mashonaland East, but a final deal for his exit had not been put together and he had asked for more time to prepare for his eventual resignation once an exit package had been finalised. It is during this time, December 2019 to be specific that the generals reached an agreement for Chiwenga to takeover from Mnangagwa for a transitional period of two to two and a half years, before power is handed over to a new civilian administration.”
Last month officials in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), told this publication that they believe a “partial putsch” has already taken place, as the country is now thought to be completely run by JOC on a day to day basis, with a new administrative command center based at the military’s defence college in Harare, from where Chiwenga, now works and is based.
Chiwenga is seldom at his Munhumutapa offices, where he goes mainly for official government meetings and engagements, while politically running the country from the defence college, the OPC officials said.
Sources close to ZDF Commander, General Philip Sibanda’s office, said the hold up in Mnangagwa’s resignation and departure was due to Chiwenga’s ill health, as key decisions could only be made after Chiwenga’s full recovery, since he was the chosen successor.
“Mnangagwa could have already given Zanu PF and the nation a time frame of when he will leave office, but everything was affected by VP Chiwenga’s health problems last year and the fact that he was away from home seeking treatment for more than three months.”
Diplomats in the capital, this week said Chiwenga is on his way to become president, because he has now received the full backing of Beijing, Moscow and New Delhi, who all have strong military ties with Harare, which have grown to include massive economic partnerships.
“There is a cable we have seen to that effect, but we cannot reveal the mission who wrote it,” said the diplomats.
“It highlights that China, Russia and India are leaning towards your vice president for their own strategic economic and political interests in Zimbabwe. There are numerous economic deals between Zimbabwe and those three foreign powers, to which your country’s military industrial complex is a silent facilitator. Continuity of their foreign policy on Zimbabwe, can easily be guaranteed under the presidency of the current vice president. China is aware of all this and is playing a lead role in the vice president’s ascendancy. VP Chiwenga was back in China in December 2019, barely a month after returning home from the same destination. We gather he was there to brief the Chinese about your country’s army takeover plans for him, and he was assured of short-term financial and economic support for his incoming government, possibly through Brics.”
BRICS is the acronym coined for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, where China has strong influence because of the size of her economy.
The military under Chiwenga’s supervision, is thought to be orchestrating multi-billion dollar economic deals with China and Russia.
One such deal with Russia mooted at last year’s Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, is government’s plan to build a US$1.5 billion second fuel pipeline fully funded by Moscow, and in partnership with three other Southern African countries namely, Mozambique, Zambia and Botswana.
Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri’s mobile phone went unanswered yesterday when we sought an official comment from her ministry.
– Spotlight Zimbabwe