HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s president has appointed a former military commander who helped oust former leader Robert Mugabe to a top position in the ruling party, a step toward appointing him as state vice president.

The announcement on Zimbabwean state radio Saturday reflects close ties between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the military, whose takeover over last month led to Mugabe’s downfall after 37 years in power.

State media say Mnangagwa appointed Constantino Chiwenga, who retired as military commander Monday, and Kembo Mohadi, former state security minister, as vice presidents in the ruling ZANU-PF party.

Traditionally, ruling party deputies are appointed as state vice presidents, although it is not legally required. Currently, the president can have two deputies.

After Mugabe’s resignation, Mnangagwa became president with the backing of the military and the ruling party.

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