Tensions are reported to be growing between President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s executive and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces military generals. The generals, who helped Mnangagwa to come to power in November 2017 after launching a military intervention against former President Robert Mugabe, are reported to be influencing a lot of government policies and, in some cases, vetoing decisions made by the executive.
The military is now reported to be keen on Mnangagwa serving a single term in office before handing over to former Commander Defence Forces (CDF) (Retired) General Constantino Chiwenga. Chiwenga is currently serving as Mnangagwa’s deputy as well as being in charge of the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans.
Weekly publication, the Zimbabwe Independent, quotes high ranking sources as saying:
Tensions and mistrust are certainly building up in government, although things may appear rosy on the surface. The feeling is that the military clique is making too many demands both in government and the party (Zanu PF).
The military has been so strong that they have veto power in some cases. For instance, Mnangagwa had initially appointed Oppah Muchinguri as one of his deputies, but the military demanded that the position be given to Chiwenga, who also insisted on being in charge of defence.
It was the same case with Victor Matemadanda. He was earmarked to be Zanu PF’s national commissar, but the military demanded that one of the senior commanders secures the post, resulting in Rugeje’s appointment. The military feels that the civilian wing of the party is not competent enough to run the commissariat, hence Rugeje is running it with the assistance of Ministry of Defence officials and the army.
…In addition, Mnangagwa, in reality, does not have control of the army as things stand. The army is still loyal to Chiwenga, who is also effectively Minister of Defence. Chiwenga has been pushing for the army to receive preferential treatment and dominance compared to other security forces and civil servants, and it appears he is winning on that front.
More: The Zimbabwe Independent