Former chief of the Zimbabwean army, Gen Constantino Chiwenga has been appointed the ruling party’s Vice President to deputize ZANU-PF President, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa appointed the retired army boss on Saturday, a month after he was elected ZANU-PF President and sworn in as Zimbabwe’s President. The announcement was made by Presidential spokesman, George Charamba.
Chiwenga, 61, has been in the armed forces since 1980 when Zimbabwe attained independence from Britain.
His political appointment did not surprise many given that he was recently retired by Mnangagwa which left many speculating over a possibility to be named Vice President.
Chiwenga was also the architect of a plot that saw the army seize administration of the country and later oust former President, Robert Mugabe. The plot had been sparked off by Mugabe’s decision to sack Mnangagwa who was deputy President.
The army, led by Chiwenga had been disgruntled by the attempt by Mugabe to sideline freedom fighters who liberated Zimbabwe, as well as a possible rise of his wife, Grace Mugabe to Presidency.
Some have viewed Chiwenga’s appointment as an indication of how much the army is entangled in Zimbabwe’s politics. Recently, when Mnangagwa announced his new Cabinet, several senior military officers made it to the list.
During the same announcement on Friday, Zimbabwe’s Defence and Security Minister, Kembo Mohadi was also named as the other Vice President.