Chiwenga Regains Military Control
22 March 2024
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By Political Reporter- Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has regained military control after the new Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal John Jacob Nzvede occupied office.

Nzvede took over from Air Marshal Elson Moyo, who was fired by President Emmerson Mnangagwa two weeks ago.

NewsHawk reports that Nzvede is Chiwenga’s close ally, just like Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) commander Lieutenant-General Anselem Sanyatwe.

Nzvede and Sanyatwe were on Chiwenga’s wedding committee in December last year.

The NewsHawks reported insiders in Zimbabwe’s corridors of power as saying Chiwenga’s wedding to military intelligence officer Colonel Miniyothabo Baloyi (47), 20 years his junior, was a major political affair.

The wedding is said to have been a political statement and an endorsement of Chiwenga’s power ambitions and strategic manoeuvres.

Sanyatwe represented the military, while the Air Force was represented by retired Air Marshal Shebba Shumbayawonda, now ambassador to Egypt, and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services by Commissioner-General Moses Chihobvu.

The Military Intelligence Directorate, where Chiwenga’s wife works, was represented by its commander Major-General Thomas Moyo.

Together with deputy Senate president retired Lieutenant-General Mike Nyambuya and Sanyatwe, Shumbayawonda was part of Chiwenga’s bridal team.

Chiwenga’s best man retired Lieutenant-General Epaphras Denga Ndaitwah (71), is a Namibian diplomat and former military commander.

Ndaitwah is said to be critical in terms of Chiwenga’s regional power matrix and manoeuvres.

He is married to Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Namibia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, who is also the current SWAPO vice-president.

Before his death, the late Namibian President Hage Geingob named Nandi-Ndaitwah as the SWAPO presidential candidate in the November 2024 general election.

She will almost certainly become the new President of Namibia in November, and this will be a major boost to Chiwenga’s political prospects.

Sanyatwe, former Presidential Guard commander, who was removed with other commanders in 2019, is back at the helm of the Zimbabwe National Army.

This means Chiwenga now has a firmer grip again on the army after his allies were removed following the November 2017 coup which brought President Emmerson Mnangagwa to power.

Chiwenga is said to be locked in a fierce power struggle and delicate political brinksmanship with Mnangagwa.

Chiwenga is tightening his grip on the army, aiming to regain political clout and position himself for power.

Meanwhile, Mnangagwa maintains control of the situation through Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander General Philip Valerio Sibanda, who is expected to leave the army soon.

Mnangagwa tried to appoint Sibanda a member of the ZANU PF decision-making politburo last year at the ZANU PF annual conference in Gweru, but his political move was deemed unconstitutional and unlawful, forcing him to retreat.

The President’s reported allies are said to be still in charge in the second layer of the ZNA command element, although there was an attempt to remove them recently through an internal corruption investigation.

The Zimbabwean army, intricately entwined with politics, has wielded significant influence over the nation’s political and military trajectory during pivotal historical moments — from the Mgagao Declaration in 1975 to the November 2017 coup.

If Sibanda goes and Chiwenga appoints his ally, retired Lieutenant-General Engelbert Rugeje, as ZDF commander, Chiwenga will gain full control of the military and position himself as the likely next President after Mnangagwa.