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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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Zimbabwe General Visited Beijing Just Days Before Executing Coup |RN

By Adrian Blomfield

The general behind Zimbabwe’s coup may have sought Chinese approval days before the army launched its takeover of Robert Mugabe’s government, it emerged on Wednesday.

Mr Mugabe remained under house arrest last night, still president of Zimbabwe if in name alone, a prisoner of once slavishly loyal generals who now hold the country’s fate in their hands.

As the former British colony faced a deeply uncertain future under military tutelage, a trip to Beijing by Gen Constantine Chiwenga, the head of the armed forces, last week has reignited concerns about rising Chinese influence in Africa.

The general held high-level meetings with officials from the Defence Ministry, and visited a school to observe a Shaolin Kung Fu class.

Although the Chinese foreign ministry insisted Gen Chiwenga’s visit was a “routine visit”, analysts have suggested that Beijing may have given the rebellious army chief its tacit blessing in advance.

Mr Mnangagwa and his allies have made conscious efforts to court Beijing as both an investor and a military partner.

Zimbabwe Army General Constantino Chiwenga addresses a media conference© JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images Zimbabwe Army General Constantino Chiwenga addresses a media conference

China, which has displaced Western rivals to become Africa’s largest trading partner and is a major investor in Zimbabwe, notably declined to call for Mr Mugabe’s restoration yesterday, despite his long ties to Beijing dating back to the Cold War.

Last year, China pledged to invest $4bn in Zimbabwe for investment, loans and aid over the next three years.

Responding to the coup, the Chinese foreign ministry merely stated that Beijing was “paying close attention to developments”, prompting suggestions that China had agreed to sacrifice “Comrade” Mugabe” in the interests of an orderly succession.                       (The Telegraph)

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Zimbabwe Crisis: We Are Targeting Criminals, Not Mugabe, Says Army |RN

Constantine-Chiwenga

Commmander of Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Gen. Constantino Chiwenga

Army General Constantino Chiwenga Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces addressing a media conference held at the Zimbabwean Army Headquarters in Harare. Photo: AFP

Zimbabwe’s military has read out a statement after taking over the national broadcaster, ZBC, saying it has taken action to “target criminals”, BBC reports.

However, it said this was not “a military takeover of government” and President Robert Mugabe was safe.

Heavy gunfire and artillery were heard in northern suburbs of the capital, Harare, early on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe’s envoy to South Africa, Isaac Moyo, earlier dismissed talk of a coup, saying the government was “intact”.

The statement read out by Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo came hours after soldiers overran the headquarters of ZBC. He said: “We wish to assure the nation that his excellency the president… and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.”

The statement added: “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.”

The statement did not name those targeted but a government source quoted by Reuters said Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo was among those detained.

It is not clear who is leading the military action.

Other key points of the statement included:

  • Citizens should remain calm and limit unnecessary movement
  • The military assures the Zimbabwean judiciary that its independence is guaranteed
  • Security services should “co-operate for the good of our country” and any provocation would “be met with an appropriate response”
  • All leave for the defence forces is cancelled and they should return to barracks immediately

(Punch)

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