Relationships formed in army barracks could be key to ZANU-PF retaining power in Zimbabwe


If Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy‚ retired army general Constantino Chiwenga‚ were footballers they could be paralleled to Xavi and Iniesta‚ once teammates at Barcelona and the Spanish national team.

“They didn’t seize power to just hand it over‚” MDC Alliance’s Tendai Biti once told journalists.

Mnangagwa and Chiwenga know very well that they need to legitimise their reign and‚ as such‚ they are leaving no stone unturned on the campaign trail.

While Mnangagwa goes about his presidential duties‚ his deputy has been flying in a chopper from village to village drumming up support for the ruling party.

On average‚ he is addressing three rallies a day in rural areas which are historically ZANU-PF strongholds.

At a rally in Murewa‚ 75km north of Harare‚ on Thursday‚ Chiwenga narrated events that led to the resignation of Mugabe – before assuring party supporters that everything would come full circle when they vote for Mnangagwa.

He then moved on to lure voters with political mantras.

“We want to rehabilitate all clinics and hospitals to ensure that they are fully stocked with drugs and they are electrified‚ so our people do not walk for long distances to access healthcare‚” he said.

Chiwenga is not a novice when it comes to commissariat work. During the liberation war, under the name “Dominic Chinenge”, he was the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA)’s deputy political commissar.

According to WikiLeaks cables of 2011‚ some serving army generals at the time viewed Chiwenga as a “political general with little practical military experience”.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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  1. ZANU PF did their groundwork. However the imposition of some candidates may negatively affect some members of Parliament Ed’s vote will not be affected. He heads for a convincing victory.