Former Zim army chief announced as Mnangagwa's deputy


Zimbabwe's Commander Defence Forces General Constantino Chiwenga attends the extraordinary conference of Zanu-PF in Harare on December 15, 2017.

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, on Saturday named the former army chief who led a coup that ended Robert Mugabe&39;s 37-year rule, as one of his two deputies in the ruling party.

Presidential press secretary George Charamba said in a statement that retired general Constantino Chiwenga and long-serving state security minister Kembo Mohadi were appointed as Mnangagwa’s deputies in the Zanu-PF party “with immediate effect”.

The party appointment is a first step in their elevation to state vice-presidents. Two other top military officials were earlier this month awarded ministerial posts.

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Chiwenga retired this week, slightly over a month after the military temporarily took control of the country on 15 November as internal feuding escalated in  Zanu-PF over then-president Mugabe’s succession.

The takeover, which the army said was targeting Mugabe’s corrupt allies came days after the 93-year-old leader had fired then deputy Mnangagwa, who has strong military ties and was widely tipped as the likely successor.

Mugabe&39;s wife, Grace, had indicated interest in succeeding her husband.

The army’s intervention was followed by mass street protests against Mugabe and a motion to impeach the veteran ruler, who resigned in a letter to parliament as proceedings to recall him began.

The ruling Zanu-PF then appointed Mnangagwa as Mugabe’s replacement, leading to his inauguration as the country&39;s president on 24 November.