Zim­babwe’s Mil­i­tary Warns Mu­gabe, Threat­ens to Step In

THISDAY - - PAGE SIX -

Zim­babwe’s army chief has warned those re­spon­si­ble for “purg­ing” the coun­try’s rul­ing Zanu-PF party to stop, or the mil­i­tary will step in.

Zim­babwe’s army chief has warned those re­spon­si­ble for “purg­ing” the coun­try’s rul­ing Zanu-PF party to stop, or the mil­i­tary will step in.

The rare in­ter­ven­tion comes just a week af­ter Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe sacked his deputy Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa.

Gen­eral Con­stantino Chi­wenga, who ap­peared at a news con­fer­ence with an­other 90 se­nior army of­fi­cers, did not refer to any­one by name.

Mr Mnan­gagwa, once seen as a suc­ces­sor to Mr Mu­gabe, has fled into ex­ile.

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”.

Mr Mnan­gagwa, nick­named the “croc­o­dile” be­cause of his per­ceived shrewd­ness, has re­buked Mr Mu­gabe, say­ingZanu-PFis“not­per­son­al­prop­erty for you and your wife to do as you please”.

Speakingatt­hearmy’shead­quar­ters, Gen­eral Chi­wenga said the re­moval of peo­ple who were in­volved in the in­de­pen­dence strug­gle, like Mr Mnan­gagwa, would not be tol­er­ated.

“The cur­rent purg­ing, which is clearly tar­get­ing mem­bers of the party with a lib­er­a­tion back­ground, must stop forth­with,” he told those gath­ered for the news con­fer­ence.

“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.”

Mr Mnan­gagwa pre­vi­ously served as de­fence and state se­cu­rity min­is­ter.

Mrs Mu­gabe, mean­while, has the sup­port of the younger “Gen­er­a­tion 40” or “G40” group of Zim­babwe politi­cians.

Gen­eral Chi­wenga also hit out at the “squab­bling” be­tween politi­cians, say­ing it had led to “no mean­ing­ful de­vel­op­ment in the coun­try for the past five years”.

The cri­sis, he con­cluded, meant Zim­babwe was strug­gling with “cash short­ages and ris­ing com­mod­ity prices”.

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