He was also appointed defence minister on 29 December, so retaining control of the military.
That perception of Mnangagwa’s disempowerment is buttressed by reports seen by Reuters from inside Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
Chinamasa said the incident was the result of a misunderstanding and did not reflect military muscle-flexing. Ever since a guerrilla war against colonial Britain and white-minority rule in the 1960s and 1970s, Zimbabweans have been used to the army and intelligence services playing a covert role in politics.
But to many Zimbabweans, the appointment of military men to the cabinet was a shock.
However, a senior general appointed to Mnangagwa’s post-Mugabe cabinet, Air Force chief Perrance Shiri, said there was nothing wrong in having military men in government.“Who says military people should never be politicians? I’ve got every right to participate in the country’s politics.”Mnangagwa did not reply to an interview request for this article and his spokesman, George Charamba, did not respond to a request for comment.