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Zimbabwe's Top General Ready To "Step In" To End Purge Of Ousted VP Supporters

Zimbabwe’s top general warned on Monday that the military would not hesitate to step in to end purges against former liberation war fighters in President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party after Emmerson Mnangagwa was stripped of his vice president’s post.
General Constantino Chiwenga, commander of Zimbabwe Defense Forces and a political ally of Mnangagwa, said instability in the party was causing anxiety in Zimbabwe.

Chiwenga’s statement, read out at a news conference packed with army top brass, comes at a time of a deepening rift within ZANU-PF over who will eventually lead the party after the 93-year-old Mugabe goes.

Mnangagwa’s removal provides a boost for (Grace Mugabe), the Zimbabwe first lady , who is supported by the largely youthful G40 faction of ZANU-PF to succeed her husband.

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.

Chiwenga said in a statement read to reporters at 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.”


“The current purging ... targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith,” he said.

Mugabe’s 37 years in power has been anchored by support from the military, which has always said it will not back anyone for president who did not fight in the liberation war. But the aging leader has been accusing the generals of taking sides in the succession race.

Meanwhile, Analysts said if Mugabe responded to Chiwenga’s statement, he would be compelled to choose sides between war veterans and the young turks rallying behind his wife.

“What we are witnessing is the military saying: ‘We are willing to intervene if the red line is crossed’. It is a warning that the political class in ZANU-PF is about to cross that red line.”
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