Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa Moves to Clip Chiwenga's Power

Photo: The Herald
President Constantino Chiwenga (left) with President Emmerson Mnangagwa (file photo).
3 November 2018

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has repealed Statutory Instrument 96 of 2018 which had been designed to award Vice President Constantino Chiwenga with powers to oversee the defense and war veterans, a move widely seen as calculated to elbow out the powerful former Army General.

According to SI 214 of 2018, "Assignment of Functions (Vice President and Minister responsible) for the Ministry of Defense and War Veterans Affairs) Notice 2018 published in Statutory Instrument 96 of 2018 is hereby repealed."

Chiwenga who was the key player in a military coup that displaced former President, Mr Robert Mugabe last year had remained in charge of the military and war veterans.

The latest development could be revealing of the fissures within the ruling party and Mnangagwa's insecurity- hence the decision to make sure his powerful deputy does not continue to handle military issues.

Writing on his Twitter yesterday, United Kingdom based lecturer Alex Magaisa described the SI 214/2018 as significant as it takes away Chiwenga's control of the military.

"This statutory instrument is more significant than it looks. This is President Mnangagwa's latest move to completely remove the principal author of the coup (VP Chiwenga) from any official role over the military. VP is down from overseeing the military to "research and procurement," Magaisa said.

"First he took away the Ministry of Defense and gave it to Oppah. Now he has taken away the Ministry from the areas that Chiwenga oversees. Instead, the VP has been shunted to oversee "procurement and research". The only sweetener is he will have oversight tenders authority," he added.

Short lived Communications Taskforce Chair in the ministry of Finance Gerald Mutumanje added that the SI214/2018 reduced Chiwenga's meaningful powers.

"Essentially President has stripped The VP of any meaningful powers. The President has stripped the Vice President of any meaningful powers! So the question is what power does the Vice President have? None Really. I'm not the one who did it, I just the one who said it," he said.

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