The head of Zimbabwe’s military has threatened to overthrow the president, Robert Mugabe if the current purge in the country’s ruling party does not end soon. General Constantino Chiwenga made the statements on monday, November 13.
BBC reports that General Constantino Chiwenga has warned the 93-year-old president, saying the removal of people who were involved in the independence struggle would not be tolerated.
Reuters reports that General Constantino Chiwenga, commander of Zimbabwe Defence Forces and a political ally of former Vice president Mnangagwa who was also expelled from the ruling ZANU-PF, 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 wife of the president, 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.
“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 news conference.
“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 ageing leader has been accusing the generals of taking sides in the succession race.