Zimbabwe army chief criticizes infighting in ruling party

Former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa

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.

Following the sacking of vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe armed forces commander, Constantine Chiwenga said the security services would stop those "bent on hijacking the revolution".

"The current purging and cleansing process in ZANU-PF which so far is targeting mostly members associated with our liberation history is a serious cause for concern for us in the defence forces", said Chiwenga, at a press conference, reading from his statement.

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

Mr Mugabe's wife Grace, who is now the favourite to succeed her husband, referred to Mr Mnangagwa as a snake which "must be hit on the head".

Chiwenga said ZANU-PF had been hijacked by people who did not fight in the 1970s liberation war, a clear shot at G40 wing and Grace Mugabe who is a vocal critic of Mnangagwa. He was Zimbabwe's first national security minister. "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.

The 93-year-old president this week fired his deputy and longtime ally Emmerson Mnangagwa, accusing him of plotting to take power via witchcraft. The choice of KGIV was also poignant for an unprecedented statement that can only be rivalled by late General Vitalis Zvinavashe's infamous "straight jacket' statement issued on the eve of the 2002 presidential election and credited with tipping the scales in Mugabe's favour against a popular opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai".

"As a result of the squabbling, there has been no meaningful development in the country for the past five years".

The party's ten provinces, the Women's League and the Youth League have endorsed First Lady Grace Mugabe to be the party's female vice president and to replace Mnangagwa. In a chilling warning to Mugabe and his lieutenants in the ruling Zanu PF party, Chiwenga warned the military could be forced to step-in and restore order.

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