Source: Why Chiwenga threatened Chimene – The Standard August 14, 2016
Some securocrats allegedly agreed to flex their muscle in the Zanu PF succession wars after Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister savaged Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, accusing him of plotting to topple President Robert Mugabe, it has emerged.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Constantino Chiwenga last week issued a thinly-veiled attack against Chimene and other senior Zanu PF officials believed to be anti-Mnangagwa that apparently included Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo.
Senior military officials privy to the developments said although Chiwenga was not speaking on behalf of all security commanders as some were not sympathetic to the commander’s own political ambitions, his statements were not a personal opinion.
Mugabe has in the past complained that some military, police and intelligence officials were meddling in Zanu PF affairs.
According to some senior army officials, the minister’s statements touched a raw nerve in the military.
“After analysing Chimene’s statement word-for-word, it was felt that as war veterans in the military, their commander in chief President Mugabe was being given instructions by a mere minister,” said a top military official.
“The military commanders felt we must flex our muscles and tell these G40 that we are watching and we will not tolerate nonsense.”
The official added: “When I say the commanders, I am talking about Cde CDF Chiwenga, the army commander, Valerio Sibanda and Airforce commander Perrance Shiri, among others within their ranks who are war veterans and understand the implications of what Chimene and his team did to the president and his legacy.”
The move by the military is likely to cause more tension in Zanu PF as some senior party officials, including Mugabe and First Lady Grace, have warned the army to maintain their distance from internal party issues.
Zimbabwe National Army spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Alpheus Makotore refused to comment on the alleged meeting.
“Those are security issues you are asking,” he said.
However, when asked if Chiwenga’s recent remarks reflected the army’s position, Makotore quipped: “He is the commander of the defence forces, he is the boss and in the army, we follow orders.
“So I can’t and will not attempt to add or subtract anything from what he had said. When your boss speaks in the military language, it’s a command. Don’t try to divide us, we are one,” he added.
But insiders said Chiwenga and other commanders felt Chimene had indirectly attacked Mugabe in her rant against Mnangagwa.
“We analysed the real meaning of what Chimene had said. It was felt that she had declared President Mugabe incapacitated. How? I know you are asking;” said another official.
“She did this when she said ‘if you are unable to fire him [Mnangagwa] call for an extra ordinary congress we will do it for you’.
“That is in short saying president, you no longer have the spine to fire ED [Mnangagwa].
“You are incapacitated and you need our help to fire someone you appointed. Its treasonous and an attack on the persona of the commander in chief.”
Added the official: “In short, what Chineme and others are saying is ‘President Mugabe, we are better than you’.
“We are able to see better than you and our intelligence is stronger than yours.
“The person you are calling your vice is a devil, and surely as soldiers with a responsibility to uphold the Constitution, we will not and I mean not, allow anyone trying to poke the nose at our commander in chief.
“We believe he is still capacitated to deal with all issues and even know who in his government is working against his vision.”
The senior military official also said they felt the G40 faction was abusing Mugabe through his wife.
“This cabal is using suicidal means to hoodwink the president by alleging that it is building the party when in actual fact they are destroying it. They think these drunken youths can withstand the political terrain that we traversed through,” the official said.
“I am not saying the youths are not important, but the method that they are using to lure them to support Zanu PF is very mediocre.
“It does not add up to political logic. These youths are an unappeasable lot that loves money [more] than the party,” said the senior military official.
Some said the army would also thwart plans to call for an early Zanu PF congress that would oust Mnangagwa.
“We know war deserters and charlatans, people who think they can tweet their way to the State House, are plotting to weaken Zanu PF from within,” another source said.
“ I can bet my last dollar, we will not sit on our laurels and watch the party we defended being misled like this.
“What CDF [Chiwenga] did last week is just a beginning of what these war pretenders should expect. We will stop that extra ordinary congress.
“These war deserters must stop practising quackery with the war. If it means laying our lives for Zimbabwe again, we are ready.”
“We can’t allow quislings from within Zanu PF to lead this country.”
The army was behind the election of the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led war veterans executive that has demanded that Mugabe must pass on the baton to Mnangagwa.