Itai Mushekwe/Nancy Mabaya 

New York-Militaristic vice president, Rtd General Constantino Chiwenga, is now the country’s de facto head of state, amid reports that President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has reportedly been stripped off of significant executive powers and functions by the army, thus effectively becoming a leader in name only pending his imminent departure from office, Spotlight Zimbabwe, has been told.

Top level government sources with the defence ministry in the capital, including three serving cabinet ministers this week confirmed to this publication that, Chiwenga has been endorsed by the Joint Opeartions Command (JOC), which he chairs to assume full control of all national security affairs, together with classified key presidential functions, as a bid by Mnangagwa’s ruling party backers to have him clinging to office using a Government of National Unity (GNU) project taking main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa on board, has allegedly been quashed.

JOC brings together the country’s military-security complex to manage homeland security affairs, and is thought to be the real power behind the curtain in Zimbabwe’s politics.

Chiwengwa’s 23 car armed Presidential motorcade in Byo

Local online media reports in the past few days have claimed that Mnangagwa is afraid of army plots to forcefully remove him from power, and has resorted to try and accommodate Chamisa in his government, to foil the move. Zanu PF politburo member and former finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa, yesterday also tried to came to Mnangagwa’s rescue by telling a party gathering in vain, that Mnangagwa was their sole presidential candidate for 2023.

Spotlight Zimbabwe, can however report with authority that a Zanu PF and military faction aligned to Chiwenga, has already agreed on Mnangagwa’s successor, and that the former vice president is going to be booted out of office within months, as his statecraft and policies have dismally failed to resuscitate the economy, which is all but now sliding into new levels of stratospheric collapse.

We exclusively reported on 22 March 2019, that Mnangagwa’s days as president are numbered, as a special delegation of senior military officials reportedly told Chinese generals that his political reign will expire in 2020, and that he was going to be an interim caretaker president up to the period, before the military replaces him with their preferred successor, a few days prior to former leader President Robert Mugabe’s November 2017 military putsch ouster.

Chiwenga himself is increasingly likely to takeover until 2023, if his health permits then handover the country to a civilian leadership, our sources said.

“There was a mistaken belief that CGDN (Chiwenga’s full name-Constantino Guveya Dominic Nyikadzino) was not coming back alive from his medical treatment in India in February,” said one of the ministers, who is a close ally of Chiwenga. “As you can see his health is on the mend, and he has been endorsed by JOC to take up more national security responsibilities and key classified functions in the presidium, which I cannot disclose for purposes of national security and my oath of office.”

Another one said although things appear to be harmonious in government, the country’s political landscape was about to change.

“Vakuru vamunoziva varikuda kugadzirisa zvinhu nyika isati yashata (The main political actor you know about, wants to restore the country before it collapses to economic disaster.) He’s coming in on a transition before the 2023 polls, unless he decides to put someone else in power. There are at least two strong candidates, which he has considered, but we shall have to wait and see.”

Speculation is rife, that former reserve bank governor, Gideon Gono, might bounce back as president, and is expected to use his skills as a banker to prevent financial recession and further economic catastrophe. Gono is a good friend of Chiwenga, who is credited with availing critical funding for the army and its programs, when Chiwenga was Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander.

Spotlight Zimbabwe, will as part of its anniversary celebration reveal the name of the incoming president to replace Mnangagwa in August, and also the country’s 2023 leader who has also been anointed by the army.

Top military officials in government also said that Chiwenga, has reportedly been convinced by his personal advisor, Mengistu Haile Mariam, the exiled Ethiopian autarch, who is now a Zimbabwean citizen and hired ZDF consultant, to start “amalgamating” his presidium functions together with his military doctrine to secure the presidency outright.

“Mengistu now advises Chiwenga on an array of issues, especially how to synchronise and amalgamating his new civilian roles with his military doctrine as former defence forces commander. Many Zimbabweans are not aware that Mengistu is also an unofficial member of the powerful Joint Operations Command. The two (Chiwenga and Mengistu) usually hold off the grid meetings at Mengistu’s farm in Vumba.”

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