Will Mnangagwa lose his throne to Chiwenga’s army?

Mnangagwa, Chiwenga: Zimbabwe # 1 & 2

To those who have been closely following Zimbabwean politics, a writing though still faint is appearing on the wall for President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

His days in office appear to be diminishing with each passing day. If recent events are anything to go by, the same script that disposed his predecessor Robert Mugabe is playing underground, this time around, against him.

Many reports say he has crossed swords with the military, the very people who brought him up there.

At one point the same scenario happened during president Mugabe’s era. When the then First Lady Grace Mugabe sensationally claimed the military wanted to destroy her family.

Similarly as if playing back Grace Mugabe’s script, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa allegedly ranted at a top army commander in a leaked audio, for spying on and wanting to harm her.

The first lady was unhappy at what she said were military moves to “spy” on her, fronted by ‘Murombo’, believed to be reference to Colonel Samson Murombo, the commander of the 1 Presidential Guard Infantry Battalion based at Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks (formerly KGVI Barracks). This section is responsible for securing the President and State House.

The audio recording, posted on the online, lays bare tensions between Mnangagwa and the military which secured him the presidency after overthrowing President Mugabe in 2017.

While everything is still sketchy, it is believed some senior military commanders have quietly withdrawn their loyalty to Mnangagwa over unfulfilled financial promises following Mugabe’s overthrow.

But political analyst Elder Mabhunu says Mnangagwa could be facing a payback time for “playing against” his deputy Constantino Chiwenga, to whom the military exhibited strong allegiance.

“The military seems to be unhappy with Chiwenga’s current health situation, he is the man the army can easily identify with, after having had been their boss.

“Chiwenga played a key role in the disposition of former president and dictator, Mugabe. And army is quite aware that if he were to go, then they would be side-lined by Mnangagwa.

Mabhunu adds that even if it true that the military bosses are disgruntled over the unfulfilled financial promise after Mugabe’s overthrow. Mnangagwa would not pay them at all, if Chiwenga were to succumb to the poisoning.

“Obviously, the military is not happy with the poisoning of their patron,” Mabhunu says.

Meanwhile, Mnangagwa has made several reshuffles of the military top brass, apparently to neutralise the threat posed by Chiwenga, the former Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander who led the coup.

Chiwenga is currently in a hospital in South Africa, battling failing health.

A publication linked to the military claims that he was poisoned at a popular Harare hotel.


Peter Nyoni writes from South Africa