ZIMBABWE opposition parties have reportedly criticised
the appointment of Vice President and former military chief Constantino
Chiwenga as the country's new defence minister.
Chiwenga (61), who led a military takeover that helped
end Robert Mugabe's 37-year rule in November, was on Thursday sworn in as one
of the country's two vice presidents.
According to NewsDay,
Chiweng has kept his stranglehold on the military after being given the extra
duty of administering the affairs of the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans,
a portfolio previously held by his counterpart, Kembo Mohadi. Mohadi will now
be in charge of the National Peace and Reconciliation organ.
The opposition slammed Chiwenga's appointment, saying that it
"brings full circle a sinister scheme by the military to push out former
president Robert Mugabe for selfish reasons".
A New Zimbabwe.com
report quoted the Morgan Tsvangirai led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party as saying that the development showed exactly that Chiwenga was the
"real power" behind the recently inaugurated President Emmerson
In a statement, MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu maintained
that the real power behind Mnangagwa’s presidency was the military.
"It has always been clear that Chiwenga was the real
power behind the throne. It’s pretty obvious that he wields tremendous power
and influence in the Mnangagwa administration," Gutu was quoted as saying.
Gutu said that Chiwenga was being rewarded for the
military take-over last month.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), led by former
finance minister Tendai Biti agreed, adding that president Mnangagwa had
surrounded himself with military veterans that included one other former
general Sibusiso Moyo.