Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party has accused Army General Constantino Chiwenga of committing “treason” after he threatened Monday that the military was prepared to “step in” should the party not stop its alleged purging of war veterans.
General Chiwenga is seen by many analysts as a close ally of expelled former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has gone into self-imposed exile citing threats on his life after he was accused of attempting to topple President Mugabe.
In an interview with VOA Studio 7 for Zimbabwe, Information minister and Zanu-PF spokesman, Simon Khaya Moyo condemned Chiwenga’s remarks as unconstitutional.
“The statement issued by General Constantino Chiwenga purporting to speak on behalf of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) was not only surprising, but was outrageous vitiation of professional soldiership and his wartime record as a high-ranking freedom fighter entrusted with Command responsibilities in a free and democratic Zimbabwe.
“Clearly calculated to disturb national peace and stability, the said statement by General Constantino Chiwenga which was not signed, and which did not represent the rest of the command element, suggests treasonable conduct on his part as this was meant to incite insurrection and violent challenge to the Constitutional Order.”
Khaya Moyo said, “Indeed, this is what happens when the gun seeks to overreach by dictating to politics and norms constitutionally.”
ZANU-PF REFUSES TO BE INTIMIDATED
Khaya Moyo said General Chiwenga’s actions are unconstitutional, “as the party running the democratically-elected government of Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF will not succumb to any threats, least of all those deriving from the conduct that is inconsistent with the tenets of democracy and Constitutionalism.”
Khaya Moyo added, “Not too far back, the President and First Secretary of Zanu-PF cde R.G. Mugabe who is also Commander-in- Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) reminded members of the Uniformed Forces of their subordinate, place and viz-a-viz: the Political Authority of the Land. By yesterday’s reprehensible conduct, it would appear that this wise counsel not only went unheeded, but flagrantly flouted in deference to factional politics and personal ambitions.”
But Doctor Martin Rupiya, a retired Lieutenant-Colonel in the Zimbabwe National army and an expert on Zimbabwe military affairs at the University of South Africa in Pretoria told VOA Zimbabwe Service that a coup is possible in Harare.