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Zimbabwe’s Army General, Coup Leader Named Mnangagwa’s Deputy |RN

Constantine-Chiwenga

Gen. Constantino Chiwenga

Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed as one of his deputies in the ruling party the leader of the military takeover that led to ex-president Robert Mugabe’s overthrow.
Constantino Chiwenga recently retired as army chief, prompting speculation that he would receive a political post.
The appointment is seen as a first step towards becoming vice-president.
Mr Chiwenga retired this week, more than a month after the army intervened in a row over Mr Mugabe’s succession.
The other deputy Zanu-PF leader is Kembo Mohadi, who was state security minister under the former president.
The 15 November takeover came days after Mr Mnangagwa, then deputy president, was fired by Mr Mugabe and left the country.
That move was seen as an attempt to install Mr Mugabe’s wife Grace as his successor instead of Mr Mnangagwa.
But Mr Mnangagwa had strong ties to the military, and following the intervention he was appointed president and inaugurated on 24 November.
Like Mr Mnangagwa, Mr Chiwenga used to be one of Mr Mugabe’s right-hand men, playing a central role in the seizure of white-owned farms and a brutal crackdown on the opposition after elections in 2008.
But he is said to be committed to rescuing Zimbabwe’s economy, which he believes is in such a dire state that it threatens national security.
Mr. Mnangagwa has already appointed two former military men as ministers.
On 30 November former general Sibusiso Moyo, who played a prominent role in the takeover, was made foreign minister and former air force chief Perence Shiri was named minister of agriculture and land affairs.   (The Sun)

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First White Farmer Recovers Land Under Zimbabwe’s New President, Mnangagwa |RN

A white Zimbabwean farmer evicted by gun-wielding police and a mob associated with the ruling party has returned to a hero’s welcome, in a sign that the new president is charting a path away from predecessor Robert Mugabe on an issue that had hastened the country’s international isolation.

With a military escort, Robert Smart made his way into Lesbury farm about 200 kilometers (124 miles) east of the capital, Harare, on Thursday to cheers and song by dozens of workers and community members.

Such scenes were once unthinkable in a country where land ownership is an emotional issue with political and racial overtones.

“We have come to reclaim our farm,” sang black women and men, rushing into the compound.

Two decades ago, their arrival would have meant that Smart and his family would have to leave. Ruling ZANU-PF party supporters, led by veterans of the 1970s war against white minority rule, evicted many of Zimbabwe’s white farmers under an often violent land reform program led by Mugabe.

Whites make up less than 1 percent of the southern African country’s population, but they owned huge tracts of land while blacks remained in largely unproductive areas.

The evictions were meant to address colonial land ownership imbalances skewed against blacks, Mugabe said. Some in the international community responded with outrage and sanctions.

Of the roughly 4,500 white farmers before the land reforms began in 2000, only a few hundred are left.

But Mugabe is gone, resigning last month after the military and ruling party turned against him amid fears that his wife was positioning herself to take power. New President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a longtime Mugabe ally but stung by his firing as vice president, has promised to undo some land reforms as he seeks to revive the once-prosperous economy.

On Thursday, some war veterans and local traditional leaders joined farm workers and villagers in song to welcome Smart’s family home.

“Oh, Darryn,” one woman cried, dashing to embrace Smart’s son.

In a flash, dozens followed her. Some ululated, and others waved triumphant fists in the air.

“I am ecstatic. Words cannot describe the feeling,” Darryn told The Associated Press.

Smart’s return to the farm, facilitated by Mnangagwa’s government, could mark a new turn in the politics of land ownership. During his inauguration last month, Mnangagwa described the land reform as “inevitable,” calling land ownership and management key to economic recovery.

Months before an election scheduled for August 2018 at the latest, the new president is desperate to bring back foreign investors and resolve a severe currency shortage, mass unemployment and dramatic price increases for food and household items.

Zimbabwe is mainly agricultural, with 80 percent of the population depending on it for their livelihoods, according to government figures.

Earlier this month, deputy finance minister Terrence Mukupe traveled to neighboring Zambia to engage former white Zimbabwean farmers who have settled there.

The Commercial Farmers Union, which represents mainly white farmers, said it plans to meet the lands minister.

“I am advising our members to be patient and give it time. But I do see many of them going back into farming,” said Peter Steyl, the union’s vice president. “The government seems serious about getting agriculture on track but how it is going to achieve this, I don’t know.”

The firmness with which the government ensured Smart’s return signaled resolve.

At the farm, a soldier sat quietly in a van that acted as an escort for the family. His services were not needed. The people gathered at the farm share deep social bonds with the family, away from the politics of race and elections.

“I have known this boy since day one,” said 55 year-old Sevilla Madembo. “He was born here. I took care of him when he was young. He is back to take care of me now that I am old.”

She was born at the farm, which also was home to her parents and grandparents.

“We are part of one family. We belong to the Tandi people. That’s why we are going to perform a traditional African ceremony before we start on production,” Darryn said, going through the farmhouse.

Locks to some rooms had been changed by the “new owner,” a cleric with close ties to Mugabe’s family. Other rooms had been ransacked and most property was missing.

Left untouched on the walls were a portrait of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and a photo of Zimbabwe’s last colonial leader, Ian Smith, officiating at an agricultural fair.

Peter Tandi, the local chief, led efforts to lobby Mnangagwa’s administration to allow Robert Smart to return to the farm. “He voluntarily gave up his estates to the community when the land reform program started. He continued helping us with technical knowledge, equipment and other inputs,” Tandi said.

“That man supported the guerrillas during the war. … He gave us a place to hide from colonial government soldiers,” said Gift Maramba, a war veteran and local ZANU-PF official.

Smart and his son held back tears while greeting familiar faces. Others were keen to get on with business.

“Hey Darryn, I want us to talk about my beans I stored in your warehouse,” one villager said.

“We can discuss that later, man. Come on, for now let’s just be happy to be with each other again,” Darryn replied.

(Source: AP)

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Former VP, Mnangagwa Takes Power In Zimbabwe |The Republican News

Emerson-Mnangagwa-sworn-in

Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa has addressed the people of the country who throng the stadium in Harare, vowing to serve all citizens.
He said he felt “deeply humbled” to take the role and not oblivious to the many Zimbabweans from across the political and racial divide who have helped make this day.”
He paid tribute to his predecessor Robert Mugabe – to muted applause – calling him “a father, mentor, comrade-in-arms and my leader”.
Mr Mugabe left office dramatically this week after 37 years of authoritarian rule. His departure followed a power struggle in which Mr Mnangagwa was sacked as vice president to pave the way for Grace Mugabe, the then-first lady, to take up the presidency.
Mr Mnangagwa fled the country but returned to a hero’s welcome and on Friday struck a conciliatory tone.
“The task at hand is that of rebuilding our country,” he said.
“I am required to serve our country as the president of all citizens regardless of colour, creed, religion, tribe, totem or political affiliation.”
Although Mr Mnangagwa has unseated Zimbabwe’s long-time ruler, he is still associated by many with some of the worst atrocities committed under the ruling Zanu-PF party since the country gained independence in 1980.
Emmerson Mnangagwa in numbers
He was the country’s spymaster during the 1980s civil conflict, in which thousands of civilians were killed. But he has denied any role in the massacres, blaming the army.
How has the inauguration unfolded?
Tens of thousands of people packed the National Sports Stadium in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, to witness the inauguration. Pop singer Jah Prayzer provided the entertainment and, as people in the crowd danced, the atmosphere was closer to that of a concert.
Dignitaries, including leaders from various African countries, filed in to cheers.
Opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Joice Mujuru – who both had their sights on the presidency at various times – were there.
Mr Mnangagwa was led in the oath of office by Chief Justice Luke Malaba, saying he would “be faithful to Zimbabwe”, “protect and promote the rights and people of Zimbabwe” and discharge his duties to the best of his abilities.
Mr Mnangagwa was accompanied by his wife Auxilia and gave her a kiss after the green presidential sash was placed around his neck.
Was Mr Mugabe there?
No – and the official reason given was that at 93, the former president needed to rest.
But the fact he is not attending is a reminder that this is no ordinary transition, the BBC’s Andrew Harding reports, and that despite Mr Mugabe’s official resignation he was forced out by the military.
On Thursday, several reports suggested Mr Mugabe had been granted immunity from prosecution.

(Source: BBC)

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