Africa

Zimbabwe takeover leader Chiwenga named vice-president

Former Gen Chiwenga at Mr Mnangagwa's inauguration - 24 November Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Chiwenga retired as head of the armed forces last week

Zimbabwe's former army chief, Constantino Chiwenga, has been appointed as one of the country's new vice-presidents.

Mr Chiwenga led the military takeover in November that resulted in the overthrow of President Robert Mugabe.

He recently retired as army chief and became a deputy leader of the ruling Zanu-PF party on 23 December.

The other deputy Zanu-PF leader, ex-state security minister Kembo Mohadi, will also become vice-president.

New President Emmerson Mnangagwa came to power after the army intervened on 15 November following a row over the presidential succession.

Days before the military takeover, Mr Mnangagwa, then deputy president, was fired by Mr Mugabe and left the country in what was widely understood to be an attempt by the president to install his wife, Grace, as his successor.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had strong ties to Zimbabwe's military, became president in November

But Mr Mnangagwa had strong ties to the military, and following the intervention he was appointed president and inaugurated on 24 November.

Like Mr Mnangagwa, Mr Chiwenga used to be one of Mr Mugabe's right-hand men.

He played a central role in the seizure of white-owned farms and orchestrated a brutal crackdown on the opposition after elections in 2008.

But Mr Chiwenga is now said to be committed to rescuing Zimbabwe's economy, which he believes is in such a dire state that it threatens national security.

Two former military men have already been appointed as ministers.

On 30 November, former general Sibusiso Moyo, who played a prominent role in the takeover, was made foreign minister and former air force chief Perence Shiri was named minister of agriculture and land affairs.

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