Zanu-PF on Tuesday strongly criticised Zimbabwe’s national army general‚ Constantino Chiwenga‚ after he warned that the military might intervene if President Robert Mugabe continued to purge party veterans.
This followed Mugabe’s sacking last week of vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa‚ who has since reportedly fled the country.
On Monday Chiwenga reminded “those behind the current treacherous shenanigans” that the military would not hesitate to step in “when it comes to matters of protecting the revolution”.
But Zanu-PF hit back on Tuesday‚ describing Chiwenga’s warning as “treasonable conduct”.
Simon Moyo‚ Zanu-PF’s national secretary for information and publicity‚ called it an “outrageous vitiation of professional soldiership”.
“This is what happens when the gun seeks to overreach by dictating politics and norms of constitutionality‚” he said.
Moyo also said Chiwenga’s statement was “clearly calculated to disturb national peace and stability”.
Chiwenga’s stance is a direct attack on Mugabe‚ who told the army in no uncertain terms that it should not interfere in party politics because “politics lead the gun”.
The Zimbabwean military forces took part in a training routine on Tuesday‚ which sparked panic. Army trucks and tanks were spotted along Chinhoyi Road in the country’s capital‚ Harare.
Moyo said Zanu-PF would “never” succumb to any threats and “least of all those deriving from conduct that is inconsistent with the tenets of democracy and constitutionalism”.
Moyo said Mugabe recently reminded the military of its “subordinate place”.
“By yesterday’s (Monday) reprehensible conduct‚ it would appear that this wise counsel not only went unheeded but was flagrantly flouted in deference to factional politics and personal ambitions”.
Moyo said such conduct was condemned by Zanu-PF and believed it was also condemned by the rest of the continent “where subversion of constitutional authority is frowned upon and regarded as an absolute anathema”.
– Additional reporting by Nhlalo Ndaba