by Tichaona Chifamba HARARE Zimbabwe
(Xinhua) -- The military intervention on Nov. 15 has completely
changed Zimbabwe’s political landscape with the former President
Robert Mugabe leaving the helm of both government and the ruling Zanu-PF party.
Having been the only leader Zimbabweans have ever known since
the country attained independence from Britain in 1980, Mugabe
had for 37 years commanded much respect from the military which
In fact, the military in 2008 intervened in another way after
Mugabe had suffered a presidential election stumble at the hands
of long time rival Morgan Tsvangirai.
It allegedly forced people to vote for Mugabe in the run-off
that Tsvangirai boycotted, citing violence perpetrated on his
However, as succession issues boiled over as party and
government officials saw Mugabe edging towards the twilight of
his political career, military seeming to take more interest in
the emerging succession battle.
The then Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mugabe’s wife
Grace were seen as likely successors. Their contention grew
fierce in recent years, with Grace spiritedly accusing Mnangagwa
of trying to topple Mugabe.
On Nov. 6 Mugabe fired Mnangagwa, which led the military to
take over of the government on the night of Nov. 14/15,
culminating in Mugabe’s resignation on Nov. 21.
Within Zanu-PF, Mugabe was also fired as party president and
first secretary while his wife Grace and a few other top
officials were expelled.
Zimbabwe Defense Forces commander Constantino Chiwenga said
the forces had noted that there were purges within the party
targeting people who had a history with the liberation struggle,
while those who did not participate were gaining ground, which
is interpreted as referring to Grace and her allies.
He said there had been no meaningful development in the
country for the past five years due to squabbling in the ruling
"The resultant economic impasse has ushered in more
challenges to the Zimbabwean populace such as cash shortages and
rising commodity prices," he said a day before the military
The bloodless action, and its public support, have led the
regional body Southern African Development Community to accept
the new political dispensation in the country.
Despite the public support for a change of leadership,
Mnangagwa’s ascendency to the leadership however was met with
Many have hoped he can turn around the fortunes of the
economy despite the fact that he was not their preferred choice
"Let’s give him a chance.
"He has less than eight months of
Mugabe’s term left and let’s see how he will fare.
not change overnight but his policies will assure us whether we
are moving in the right direction or not," said informal trader Petros Hove.
So far, he has preached about forgiveness, calling for people
to rebuild the country as one regardless of party affiliation.
But his critics still allege that his ascendency was not
constitutional as he literally toppled an elected leader with
assistance from the military.
Chiwenga, who led the military intervention, retired recently
with Mnangagwa saying that he is due for reassignment.
Speculation is high that he will be appointed one of two vice
presidents, while two other generals have already been appointed
to cabinet positions and another re-assigned to the party’s
One major task facing Mnangagwa is ending the prevailing cash
shortages amid the country’s struggling economy.
Zimbabweans have endured cash shortages for more than three
years and the introduction of bond notes in 2016 to plug the
crisis has not eased their woes.
The country’s economy also remains under stress mainly due to
low domestic production across all sectors.
It recorded the lowest growth rate since 2009 of 0.6 percent
in 2016, when it had started to grow following years of
The 2017 forecast is 2.8 percent, according to the IMF.
Many reasons for the liquidity challenges have been
proffered, among them few exports and externalization of the
Unsustainable current account and capital account deficits
have also put pressure on the nostro accounts of banking
institutions, resulting in cash shortages.
Long queues still characterize many banks especially at
month-ends when people get their salaries, but some people have
stopped visiting banks amid prevailing lack of confidence in the
Some banks continued to give clients less than 50 dollars a
day while others pegged their limits at 100 dollars once a week.
So far, hopes that Mnangagwa can reverse the trend have
The business community has expressed confidence in the
Foreign direct investment is now expected to flow into the
country following drastic changes to the indigenization law that
previously required foreigners to own up to 49 percent of local
The new law will limit the 49/51 percent threshold to the
natural resources sector, particularly diamond and platinum
Zimbabweans are yet to see tangible results from the change
of leadership but the signs of changes have kept many upbeat
about the country’s future.
Zimbabwe former military commander appointed vice president
in ruling party
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Former Zimbabwe Defense Forces
commander Constantino Chiwenga has been appointed vice president
and second secretary of the ruling Zanu-PF, Presidential
spokesperson George Charamba said Saturday.
Charamba said in a statement that Chiwenga, who retired from
the military last week after leading a military intervention
that resulted in former president Robert Mugabe’s resignation in
November, was appointed to the same position together with
Minister of Defense and War Veterans Kembo Mohadi.
Mohadi belongs to the old PF-Zapu, which was led by late Vice
President Joshua Nkomo who signed a unity accord with then
President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF to form the united Zanu-PF.
The two’s appointments pave the way for them to be appointed
the country’s vice presidents.
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