Mnangagwa retires coup leader Chiwenga, Sibanda new Commander, Chihuri retires

Army General Constantino Chiwenga, left, chats with General Valerio Sibanda during the presidential inauguration ceremony in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. Emmerson Mnangagwa is being sworn in as Zimbabwe's president after Robert Mugabe resigned on Tuesday, ending his 37-year rule. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

HARARE,– President Emmerson Mnangagwa has retired Zimbabwe’s coup leader, General Constantino Chiwenga pending ‘redeployment,’ sparking speculation that he will be one of the vice-presidents.

Mnangagwa also retired the head of police, Augustine Chihuri, seen as an ally of former leader, Robert Mugabe.

Chiwenga is the military chief who pulled the trigger on the coup, leading to the downfall of Zimbabwe’s leader of 37 years, Robert Mugabe who was forced to resign when soldiers took over the country, leaving him confined to his private residence.

The coup brought Mnangagwa, who Mugabe had fired on November 6 to spark the coup, back from the cold and was installed as president on November 24, with Chiwenga now expected to be named as one of the two vice-presidents.

ZANU-PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo last week said the appointment of vice-presidents was Mnangagwa’s prerogative. Mnangagwa has promised to fill the positions in the next few days.

Chiwenga, 61, has served in the armed forces since Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in 1980. He was among senior government officials placed under sanctions by the United States and European Union although the latter removed him from its list of restricted individuals in 2014.

Zimbabwe national army commander Philip Valerio Sibanda has been appointed to take over from Chiwenga as head of ZDF after promotion to full general.

The head of police, Augustine Chihuri, seen as a Mugabe ally went on leave pending retirement on December 15, with Godwin Matanga now acting police commissioner.

Major General Edzai Absalom Chanyuka Chimonyo promoted to Lieutenant-General, to take over as ZNA boss

Air Vice Marshal Elson Moyo promoted to Air Marshal, replaces Perrance Shiri as airforce chief.

Other key figures in the coup, Major General Sibusiso Moyo, now foreign minister, has been promoted to Lieutenant General on retirement. Perrance Shiri, now lands and agriculture minister, has been assigned the rank of Air Chief Marshal on retirement.

Major General Engelbert Rugeje, who Mnangagwa appointed to head his ZANU-PF party’s commissariat, was also promoted Lieutenant General on retirement.

The promotions come after the army on Monday declared an end to its ‘Operation Restore Legacy,’ the codename assigned to the military intervention that ousted Mugabe.

Commander Sibanda told the media in the morning that the army would shut down their last roadblocks in the capital and around the country hand over to police.

“Normalcy has now returned to our country. It is for this reason that so we announce the end of Operation Restore Legacy today,” said Sibanda.

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