COLOGNE– Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander, General Constantino Guveya Chiwenga, is set to be granted special powers when he assumes the office of Vice President of Zimbabwe any day from now, to help his imminent boss, VP Emmerson Mnangagwa, all but about to become the second republic leader to stabilise the political and economic situation in the country ahead of the 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections, Spotlight Zimbabwe, has been briefed.
The disclosures come at a time when there is growing social unrest and discontent, characterised by street protests and demonstrations by rights activists, as political analysts are warning that Harare risks becoming a failed regime, due to the country’s multiple social and economic woes bedeviling the populace.
Also President Robert Mugabe’s exit from office, might trigger stratospheric political chaos and civil disorder, breeding fears of anarchy as people are “going to be tempted to test the powers” of any incoming regime after Mugabe, government insiders said yesterday.
According to a current serving cabinet minister, with knowledge about the behind the scenes developments, Chiwenga is going to be vested with more responsibilities to manage, the security element of the new government, whose tenure is expected to be shortlived.
Opponents opposed to Mnangagwa taking over the presidency, have raised alarm that his administration if it comes to power, will give birth to a securocrat state. A securocratic state is one in which the military-security apparatus is a dominant factor in the power complex that is the state.
“Traditionally vice presidents in our country are largely ceremonial,” said the minister this week. “They do not have well defined powers other than assisting the President. However as an incoming first vice president, the General (Chiwenga) is going to have special powers in government directed at managing security ministries, therefore he shall enjoy symbolic executive power, as determined by the new president.”
Zimbabwe’s main security ministries, include defence, home affairs and state security. Ministers Sydney Sekeramayi, Ignatius Chombo and Kembo Mohadi lead the crucial portfolios respectively.
The minister said Chiwenga will not find it difficult to deliver, as he has been a key member of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) for many years.
JOC is a shadowy quasi military organ, bringing together the country’s military-security complex which includes the army, and its military intelligence wing and Presidential Guard, Air Force, police, prisons and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to manage homeland security affairs.
Author Robert I. Rotberg in a book titled Failed States, Collapsed States, Weak States: Causes and Indicators says if reforms fail Harare becomes a failed state. “In most failed states, regimes prey on their own constituents. Driven by ethnic or other intercommunal hostility, or by the governing elite’s insecurities, they victimize their own citizens or some subset of the whole that is regarded as hostile. As in Mobutu Sese Seko’s Zaire or the Taliban’s Afghanistan, ruling cadres increasingly oppress, extort, and harass the majority of their own compatriots while privileging a more narrowly-based party, clan, or sect.”
Spotlight Zimbabwe was the first media publication in the country to break the story of Chiwenga’s pending shock elevation to be first vice president on 18 March 2016.
Zimbabwe has never had a vice president, taking over from an incumbent leader since Independence from Britain in 1980. Closer to us across the Limpopo, Thabo Mbeki, then vice president during Nelson Mandela’s reign managed to succeed him in 1999, as promotion to his appointment as deputy president in 1994.
Former VP Joice Mujuru appointed into office in 2004, was within a whisker of succeeding Mugabe but was unceremoniously kicked out of power in 2014.
*Video taken from Nehanda TV