December 27, 2017 / 2:08 PM / in 4 months

Ex-army boss to be sworn in as Zimbabwe vice president on Thursday

HARARE (Reuters) - Retired army chief Constantino Chiwenga and veteran politician Kembo Mohadi will be sworn in as Zimbabwe’s vice presidents on Thursday, state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said on Wednesday.

Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), general Constantino Chiwenga, arrives to attend the Extraordinary Congress of the ruling party ZANU PF in Harare, Zimbabwe December 15, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

The pair, appointed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, were elevated to similar positions in the ruling ZANU-PF party on Saturday.

Chiwenga retired from the military this month. His appointment was expected as a reward for leading a de facto coup in November that ended Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule and brought Mnangagwa to power.

It also adds to signs of a consolidation of power for the army since it turned against the 93-year-old Mugabe. Mnangagwa has appointed several senior military officers to his cabinet and the ruling party’s top decision-making body, the Politburo.

Mnangagwa is under pressure from opposition parties and the public to implement political reforms.

Reporting by Alfonce Mbizwo; Editing by Ed Stoddard and John Stonestreet

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