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Zimbabwe army chief urges ruling party to stop firing ousted VP's supporters
14 November 2017, 08:40 | Opal Carroll
Former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa
The Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army‚ General Constantine Chiwenga‚ has waded into the Zanu PF succession war in response to the sacking of Emmerson Mnangagwa and purging of senior party members aligned to him‚ raising fears of a potential coup.
"We strongly urge the party to stop reckless utterances by politicians from the ruling party denigrating the military which is causing alarm and despondence within the rank and file", Chiwenga said.
"What is obtaining in the revolutionary party is a direct result of the machinations of counter-revolutionaries who have infiltrated the party and whose agenda is to destroy it from within..."
Mnangagwa's main rivals within the ruling ZANU-PF- party are the younger "Generation 40" or "G40" group, who enjoy Grace's support.
The Zimbabwe Herald reports that three men and a woman from Bulawayo are accused of booing Grace Mugabe at a ruling party rally over the weekend attended by President Robert Mugabe.
"The current purging which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith", Chiwenga said.
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In an unprecedented warning, he said in a statement: "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 noted that there were current purges within the party targeting people who had a history with the liberation struggle while those who did not participate were gaining ground.
Mnangagwa's dismissal marked a dramatic shift in politics in Zimbabwe, where he had been a pillar of a military and security apparatus that helped Mugabe emerge as the nation's leader after independence from the U.K.in 1980.
The party has said it would also take disciplinary action against scores of party members perceived to be loyal to Mnangagwa. Mr. Mugabe's party regained full control in 2013 elections that were widely seen as rigged.
Mugabe has in the past ordered the military to stay out of politics arguing that it is politics that leads that gun and not the other way round.
He said the ZANU-PF had been undermined by "gossiping, backbiting and public chastisement" since 2015, and added, "Indeed, the party is undoing its legacy built over the years".
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