In his first public address as Zanu-PF President and first secretary, President designate Emmerson Mnangagwa revealed that he was in constant contact with the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) under Commander General Constantino Chiwenga’s leadership.
I wish also to thank the manner our Defence Forces under the leadership of General Chiwenga have been able to manage this process peacefully. I was in constant contact with the service chiefs throughout…
There has been speculation that Mnangagwa and Chiwenga met in China and plotted to remove Mugabe when the former was ousted by Robert Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s Vice President on 6 November. Daily News reported Emmerson Mnangagwa went to China after fleeing Zimbabwe following his dismissal and arrived in that country from South Africa. Chiwenga was also in China at the time the story was published although it still remains unclear if the two did meet. However, Chiwenga initiated the military intervention code named “Operation Restore Legacy” after returning from China.
Human Rights activist and lawyer, Doug Coltart argues that Mnangagwa’s admittance that he was in constant touch with the military leaves no doubt that Operation Restore Order was a coup. Coltart urges Mnangagwa to set up an inclusive transitional process to ensure free and fair elections. Said Coltart:
The admission by Mnangagwa that he was in constant communication with the military throughout the process leaves no doubt that this was a coup. In order to sanitize his illegitimate rule, he MUST set up an inclusive transitional process to ensure free & fair elections ASAP.