Chiwenga blasts Grace Mugabe led purges; Regrets Mnangagwa situation

Cheryl Sanders
November 14, 2017

Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantino Chiwenga has said the military will intervene to protect the values of the liberation struggle which he said were under threat from a section of people in the ruling ZANU-PF party.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who joined the struggle for Zimbabwe's liberation struggle at a young age, was sacked by Mugabe on November 6 for showing "traits of disloyalty".

Mnangagwa fled into exile, vowing to return and has launched a direct challenge to Mugabe by calling for members of the ruling party to desert the president.

The expulsion of Mnanggwe, a former minister of defence and state security, had removed a potential successor to Mugabe, the 93-year-old president and leader of the ruling ZANU-PF party.

"We must remind those behind the current treacherous shenanigans that when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution, the military will not hesitate to step in", Chiwenga said in a statement read to reporters at the army headquarters.

Mnangagwa's removal provides a boost for Grace Mugabe, the wife of the president, who is supported by the largely youthful G40 faction of ZANU-PF to succeed her husband. "Zimbabwe army chief warns military could "step in" over party purge", reported UK's The Guardian, and "Zimbabwe's generals tell Mugabe to stop purge or face coup", wrote The Times.

"It is with humility and a heavy heart that we come before you to pronounce the indisputable reality that there is instability in Zanu-PF today and as a result anxiety in the country at large", he said.

Grace, now poised to become a vice president, did not fight in the liberation war. Most of the military commanders participated in the independence war.

Chiwenga said ZANU-PF had since 2015 been rocked by infighting, which had afflicted the economy, causing serious cash shortages and soaring prices of basic commodities - rare criticism of those in government by the military.

"From a security point of view, we can not ignore the experiences of countries such as Somalia, DRC, Central Africa Republic and many others in our region, where minor political differences degenerated into serious conflict that has decimated the social, political and economic security of ordinary people", Chiwenga said, adding that Section 22 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe mandated the country's defence forces to protect Zimbabwe.

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