General Chiwenga is the vice president of the Republic of Zimbabwe. He has for the longest time served in the country's military. During the time that he served in the army, he showed the greatest form of commitment towards serving the nation. That is probably what warranted his appointment as the vice president.
General Constantino Chiwenga is one of the men that Zimbabwe is proud to associate with. His influence in the country's political history is incomparable. He has shown the greatest interest in serving the nation from the time when he was a young boy. His commitment towards service has seen him land the biggest ranks in the army. There is so much to landing these positions that most people are not aware of. That calls for the need to go through General Chiwenga biography.
General Chiwenga biography
The millennial generation will associate him with being the vice president of the Republic of Zimbabwe. A majority of them have no clue about what it took him to get to where he is right now. All those details have been woven in his biography.
How old is Chiwenga?
Constantino Chiwenga was born on 25th August 1956. As of date, the latter is sixty-two years old. He was born in Wedza, Mashonaland in the East Province of Zimbabwe.
How educated is Chiwenga?
The latter attended St. Mary's in Hwedza. He went to school with the likes of Perence Shiri. He left high school to take part in the liberation war.
In 2015, he graduated from the University of KwaZulu Natal with a Doctorate of Philosophy Degree in Ethics.
Chiwenga is one of the individuals who have a great influence on the history of Zimbabwe. He has served in the country's struggle for independence. He has since then served in the government's top positions. This is his history in his career;
Constantine Chiwenga participation in the Liberation Struggle
In 1973, Chiwenga absconded school to be part of the liberation war. He made this move together with Perence Shiri who was his close friend then. The two dropped out of school to become part of the liberation movements that would, later on, plan the Second Chimurenga. Joining the liberation movements, later on, saw him join the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA), which then became the military of Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF). Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) is the party that is led by Robert Mugabe.
After it was confirmed that Chiwenga would be part of the liberation struggle, the latter went to Mozambique where he underwent military training. His pseudo name, 'nom de Guerre' during the war was Dominic Kanenge. His commitment during the training made him land a rank in ZANLA. He gradually rose in ranks and became the Provincial Commander. He served in this position as the head of Masvingo/Gaza Province. In 1978, he earned a bigger position. He was appointed as a member of the ZANU PF’S High Command. He was also appointed as the Deputy Political Commissar where he served under Josiah Tungamirai.
Political and military career
1980 marked the beginning of his military career. He earned the position of Brigadier. In this position, his role was to command the First Brigade in Bulawayo. His passion to serve earned him favour, and within no time, he was promoted to become the Major General.
In 1994, his rank grew. He was appointed as the Lieutenant General where he served for ten years. In 2004, he took over the position of the commander of the ZDF after the then general Vitalis Zvinavashe retired from power. He serves as the commander of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) alongside Perence Shiri, Paradzai Zimondi, Augustine Chihuri, and Philip Valerio Sibanda.
During the season when there were conflicts of interest in ZANU-PF that had been alleged to be associated with the coterie that was led by Emmerson Mnangagwa and the other one by Joice Mujuru, Chiwenga was alleged to have shown interests in the presidential seat.
Chiwenga, however, refuted these claims stating that the officials of ZANU PF were hungry for power and wanted to use him as a scapegoat. He reaffirmed that he paid allegiance to the then president; Robert Mugabe. He went further to state that as the commander of ZDF, his role was to protect the country from internal and external attacks.
Claims that he was involved in politics while in the military army
Even though Chiwenga refuted the claims that he was among the people who were eyeing the presidency, during his tenure as an army man, there were instances that he made political remarks. Making these claims made him be viewed as politician, which was against the constitution. Two of the Brigadiers who used to work under him; Brigadier Fidelis Chingono and Brigadier General Herbert Chingono, brought forth the claims that their commander used to spend his time politicking.
They also stated that their commander was not fit for the position because he had not attended military training. They went further to explain that the latter had only gone through a mid-level military course, which he did not complete.
In May 2017, he openly made remarks that would, later on, be used to term him as meddling with politics. He targetted a particular group; the section of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association. According to him, the group was belittling the president. He openly made the following remarks;
This must now stop, or we are going to send them to where they belong. If they want to remain as part and parcel of those disciplined, loyal, patriotic cadres, they must now understand that it is the party, it is the government that sets the direction.
...Some will ask why I am speaking about these issues, they will talk of separation of the military from politics in the Constitution. I went to the struggle — that will not change. You cannot change history. We went out there. We are also cadres. We rose through the ranks.
I am not only Commander of the Defence Forces, but also I was their commander there in the struggle. And the defence of this country, the security of this country — because the security services, be they the President’s Department, be they the Police, be they the Prisons and Correctional Services — they are combatants
Six months later, he released a press statement claiming that the army would take action. The content of the press statement was that the army would take action on those who were purging the leaders who had taken part in the Second Chimurenga Liberation War, and if they were not willing to stop, the army would take charge.
Participation in the 2017 coup
After releasing the press statement, Constantino Chiwenga championed for Operation Restore Legacy, which came after the resignation of President Robert Mugabe after he had been in power for thirty-seven years. He received accolades for making this move.
Constantino Chiwenga as vice president
On the 23rd of December, the General received a political appointment. He was appointed as the vice president by Emmerson Mnangagwa who is the First Secretary of ZANU-PF and the president of the party too. General Constatino Chiwenga was also appointed as the second secretary of ZANU-PF.
Even though Constantino Guveya Dominic Nyikadzino Chiwenga had had the best breaks as a military and political leader, he did not have the best of marriage life. His first marriage crumbled in 2010 after he made claims that his first wife would physically abuse him. These claims made him relocate from his matrimonial home and file for a divorce. The divorce has caused the public to know how rich the General is.
In 2018, the General became the talk on social media after a picture of him and his wife surfaced, and they looked lighter than they were in the previous years. When the allegations came up that they were bleaching, the General came up to state that he had been suffering from a skin condition that had caused him to appear that way.
In February 2019, the General was flown to South Africa to receive treatment. At first, the government was adamant to give details, but later on, the president came out to affirm that the vice president was out of the country for treatment for an abdominal condition.
Chiwenga latest news
The General was airlifted to India for medication in May. The details of his illness were not disclosed, even though it was alleged that his health condition had deteriorated. The undisclosed information about his health could be the cause of the most recent fears that came up on social media claiming, 'Chiwenga dies'. The claims that Chimwenga latest news was his death came up through a letter that was alleged to have been written by the clerk of parliament.
General Constantino Chimwenga is one of the most influential leaders in South Africa. His influence in the country's political history is quite significant. His journey towards becoming the vice president was not as easy as it sounds. So was the journey to ensure that Zimbabwe maintains the political shape that it has right now.