Zanu PF wars alarm military

HARARE - Seemingly alarmed by Zanu PF’s worsening tribal, factional and succession wars, the country’s influential military is flexing its muscles — delivering an ominous warning this week to the former liberation movement’s brawling bigwigs to take a chill pill.

This comes as Zanu PF insiders say there is an ongoing realignment of alliances within the deeply-divided ruling party — which recently resulted in the jettisoning of powerful women’s league officials, Sarah Mahoka and Eunice Sandi Moyo, as well as the current onslaught on national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.

At the same time, analysts told the Daily News yesterday that it was no coincidence that disaffected war veterans had suddenly decided to soften their stance towards President Robert Mugabe, whom they lavished with praise on Monday despite the parties’ well-known rocky relations.

In an eyebrow-raising development, the commander of the Defence Forces, General Constantino Chiwenga, came out guns blazing on Tuesday — warning brawling Zanu PF factions that it was time to end their mindless bloodletting.

Speaking in coded language during an interview with State media, Chiwenga warned disgruntled war veterans to stop attacking Mugabe, while also imploring ruling party bigwigs to desist from starting fights.

“This must now stop (attacking Mugabe) . . . If they (war vets) 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.

“The party commands the ex-combatants, not vice versa. The majority of war veterans have nothing to do with this nonsense that we are now getting daily in our media.

“I am talking on behalf of the defence and security services of the country, and besides that, on the Zanla side, I am the surviving most senior commander,” Chiwenga added.

This comes as war veterans have been feuding with Mugabe since they issued a damning communiqué against the increasingly frail nonagenarian mid last year.

Until that happened, the fed-up ex-combatants had served as Mugabe’s and Zanu PF’s pillars, waging particularly brutal campaigns against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC, especially in the bloody elections of 2000 and 2008.

Their stunning fallout with Mugabe and Zanu PF later saw their chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa being fired from both the Cabinet and the ruling party last year, while many of their other top leaders were also banished from the imploding former liberation movement, in addition to being hauled before the courts.

Mutsvangwa’s executive has also publicly said it favours Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe at both government and party levels.

Zanu PF insiders told the Daily News yesterday that they had also not been surprised that war veterans had on Monday swiftly moved to tone down their previous savage attacks on Mugabe.

This was after Mutsvangwa issued a statement in which ex-combatants showered Mugabe with praise for his recent speech at the burial in Harare of former Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) assistant director Zenzo Ntuliki.

“As war veterans, we wholeheartedly welcome . . . Mugabe’s and the commander in chief speech delivered at the burial of Zenzo Ntuliki.

“We are particularly heartened by the recognition and the accolades showered upon our defence and security establishment which owes its existence to the pain and sacrifice of gallant young men and women of the 1960-70s.

“That generation of youthful patriots selflessly bore arms as Zanla and Zipra to dislodge the evil minority racist settler colonial regime and gave birth to the new State of Zimbabwe.

“In equal measure we salute both . . . Mugabe and the late Father Zimbabwe Joshua Nkomo for providing the militant leadership leading us to freedom and independence in 1980, and their subsequent sterling roles in nation building,” Mutsvangwa had said.

And yesterday, forthright war veterans’ spokesperson Douglas Mahiya promptly apologised to Chiwenga and said former freedom fighters would “stop forthwith” quarrelling with Mugabe.

“If the commander (Chiwenga) has spoken, we have to listen to him because tiri vana vadiki, tinovatya, (We are his juniors and we respect him). What he says we will do.  I am sorry that I said too much,” the contrite Mahiya told the Daily News.

However, he added, people should not read too much into the war vets’ conflicting statements.

Interestingly, Chiwenga’s warning came days after Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko had expressed disquiet over the military’s silence on war veterans’ attacks on Mugabe and his powerful wife Grace.

“What is happening now is that the youths are insulting the president. Insulting the first lady (Grace), but nothing . . . zero is happening . . . Mugabe is an elder . . . he is the Head of State and in the military he is commander-in-chief.

“How is the military feeling when their commander-in-chief is being dangled like a thing,” Mphoko said last week.

Political analysts have said Mugabe’s failure to resolve Zanu PF’s thorny succession riddle is fuelling the ruling party’s deadly infighting, which is worsening by the day.

The 93-year-old has studiously refused to name a successor, insisting that the party’s congress has that mandate: to choose a person of their own choice.

Zanu PF is split in the middle, with a faction of young party Turks going by the moniker Generation 40 (G40) locked in a vicious fight with Team Lacoste, a faction backing Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential ambition.

Chiwenga also took a thinly-disguised swipe at alleged G40 kingpin, Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, in his rant — saying the military would not allow Mugabe’s standing to be sullied by people who never participated in the war.

“Nevamwe zvino vaakuti vanoziva, takafunda sitereki, tava maprofessor ... vakatiza hondo iyi (Some think that they are so educated and knowledgeable, yet they deserted the war). Nhasi iko zvino izvi (today) they now know (their place),” Chiwenga said.

Moyo’s rivals in the former liberation movement have consistently claimed that the Tsholotsho North MP deserted the war to study in the United States of America.

Comments (7)

Bravo General Sir, now that you have thrown away your professional jacket to tackle political issues headon assist the long suffering masses by whipping those guys to fix the dead economy for the benefit of all. One more thing Sir, you participated in the liberation war so that any Zimbabwean who feels he can run for the highest office is free to do so, the mantra of saying the highest office in the land is a preserve of only those who fought during the bushwar has an expiry date...surely Zimbabwe will still be there in the next 50yrs must it not have a leader then.

Sinyo - 3 May 2017

Cde Chiwenga you have lost it. In South Africa there are army commanders but we have never heard them threatening anyone who has been calling for Pres. Zuma to step down. Actually it seems like the SA defence commanders are not even there because they have been very professional by not meddling in ANC board room fights. Cde chiwenga you need to follow in the shoes of Cde solomon Mujuru who quit the military and did politics. Every one has their right to voice their concerns against anyone including the Zanu pf President and 1st Secretary. cde Chiwenga you need to stop forthright threatening people. For once be professional, be neutral period.

Gheo - 3 May 2017

The reason why Chiwenga is waffling the way he does its coz is a dull, uncouth and ill-disciplined military junta cabalist. All his nonsense utterances is treasonous and never uttered by a professional soldier in a democracy. Let Chiwenga remove official camouflage and contest for councillor position; then he will realise he is nothing. If these guys think they will continue with Bob's nonsense beyond his days, then they must rethink. If they think they will handover power to their children; then they are in for big shock because the world is awaiting with baited breath. The next 2 years will be very dramatic and lets all watch the space! These guys brutalised us and our parents during the war and now have reduced the jewel of Africa to a shell and they still want everyone to say Nkosi!

Save - 3 May 2017

Chiwenga is afraid of the future. Remember he is party to looting this countrys wealth and wishes the state of affairs remains so forever. The most corrupt army general this country has ever had. He thinks he is invincible, remember he is the one ruling the country, Mugabe is just a ceremonial stooge.

batanai - 3 May 2017

Chiwenga is a thief holding the gun, but that will never remain like that forever, NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

chiwara - 3 May 2017

I saw this coming, the day the General changed his name. Another horse entered the race. Its not only ED and Marujata anymore.

Cde Chaurura - 3 May 2017

Chiwenga-stay away from politics. U r no match for the likes of the Proffessor.etc. Bob must be criticized big time as he has failed and this failure is becoming a threat to national security!!! Stick to your guns period!! Nxe

Tom - 4 May 2017

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