Chiwenga’s Potential Candidacy Is A Zimbabwean Nightmare

OPINION – Living with a despotic leader who has clung to power for 31 years amid civilian torture and widespread poverty is like carrying a permanent injury for Zimbabweans.\r\n

Adding insult to that injury is when the same people responsible for that autocratic government are reportedly currently considering endorsing a ruthless Army General as their candidate for the next president.

Recent reports from Harare have suggested that Defence Forces Commander Constantine Chiwenga is being tipped to succeed the ailing President Robert Mugabe.

For any development-oriented and peace-loving Zimbabwean, this new twist to the Mugabe succession battle represents yet another hurdle which has to be overcome before freedom is achieved.

Of all the people to consider as a future leader of Zimbabwe.

Just the name Chiwenga automatically rings alarm bells and conjures up bad memories of terrible days gone by.

Isn’t this the same Chiwenga who has been linked to the 1983 Gukurahundi massacres in Matebeleland?

That abomination alone saw around 20 000 civilians murdered at the hands of those who are allegedly in or tied to the ruling party.

Something that will forever be remembered as among – if not – the worst disaster to befall the Zimbabwean people.

Chiwenga, along with his wife, are on the sanction list of those Zimbabwean officials not allowed to enter the EU and the United States.

According to Greatindaba.com on May 3 : “Sources said MDC-T ministers accused Mugabe of blessing the operations of the police under Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri and those of the army under Zimbabwe Defences Forces Commander Constantine Chiwenga.

These include the murder of MDC party members after Mugabe lost the 2008 election.

The same Chiwenga who reportedly used his Army credentials to marry his wife.

According to a former Prison Officer, currently seeking asylum in South Africa – who worked closely with Chiwenga – his current wife Joyline was formerly married to a Frenchman who was allegedly forced to sign divorce papers at gunpoint and later deported to his country under mysterious conditions.

Now with the support of other Army Generals – Perrence Shiri ( Airforce Commander ), Vitalis Zvinavashe and Prisons boss, Retired Major General Paradzai Zimhondi – Chiwenga has made his intentions clear ; He is ready to grab any opportunity that might present itself to take over as President from Mugabe.

In this regard he has since gone around claiming to be studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Zimbabwe.

Who knows if he is genuinely studying and even if he gets the degree, how does it bolster his claim to lead a country where he has committed what may well constitute crimes against humanity?

Does this heavy-handed man hold the credentials to become leader of Zimbabwe.

Obviously not.

Are Zimbabweans ready to embrace yet another torrid totalitarian error, this time under a military leader?

Heaven forbid.

Mugabe’s refusal to leave, his failure to resolve his succession crisis within the ZANU-PF and the party’s bloodthirsty approach to what passes for democracy in Zimbabwe continues to jeopardise the country’s security and the welfare of its citizens.

And it will remain at risk as long as Zanu-PF heavyweights push and shove in a bid to outmanoeuvre each other in some kind of desperate power-grab.

Recent reports have indicated that as a result of prostate cancer Mugabe has been leaving the country in the hands of the military ; a very risk stance which exposes the nation to an army takeover.

As the succession battle unfolds, a whole lot of dictatorially minded people have emerged as possible candidates.

Others who have been touted as potential successors to Mugabe include Joice Mujuru, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Sydney Sekeramayi, and more remotely John Nkomo, Simon Khaya Moyo, Gideon Gono and Saviour Kasukuwere.

Yet mention of Chiwenga is still staggering.

If an army takeover becomes the reality Zimbabwe is likely to be presented with a more severe autocratic setup where fair elections will be, at best, elusive.

This possibility leaves civilians anticipating more danger and political bloodshed in the days ahead.

Time will tell – watch this space.