Serious like never before... Army Commander Gen Constantino Chiwenga with President Robert Mugabe
17-11-2017 - There are growing fears of a coup after Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander General Constantino Chiwenga issued a stern warning to President Robert Mugabe that the military would 'step in' if the purges in Zanu PF do not stop forthwith.
The Zanu PF national youth league further raffled the feathers when it responded to Chiwenga's threats, saying the army boss and axed Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa must first account for the missing US$15 billion before they can start issuing any demands.
Last year, President Mugabe stunned the nation when he revealed that the country lost a total of US$15 billion to underhand dealings in the Chiyadzwa diamond fields.
While addressing a press conference on Monday, Gen Chiwenga said the on-going purges in Zanu PF must stop 'forthwith' or else the army would 'step in'.
"The current purging of which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith…the army will not hesitate to step in. The current counter revolutionary elements which have fomented the current instability in the party must be exposed and fished out," said Gen Chiwenga.
In the squabbling ruling party, all Mnangagwa's allies are in the firing line, a situation which has put the military in an uncomfortable position, forcing Chiwenga to call Mugabe to order.
A day after Gen Chiwenga's press conference, Zanu PF youth league boss Kudzanai Chipanga retorted with a strong-worded statement during a press conference of his own, telling the army boss that he will not be allowed to dictate who should and who should not lead Zanu PF and the country.
"We are however totally against the bulk of the press statement made by General Chiwenga yesterday. We believe that the views he exposed are his personal opinions and not the collective view of the security forces as a whole.
"We are therefore taking a stand against those who are bent on sowing division among our people and also those taking advantage of the privilege of their appointment by our President to extort guarantees and immunity for fugitives, border jumpers from the same appointing authority. These people should be warned that we the youths are watching in our millions and those who wish to ride on the back of the tiger will end up inside," said Chipanga.
Chipanga accused Gen Chiwenga of selectively reading the Constitution, warning that the youth will fight against any attempts to stage a coup, just like what Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's loyalists did when mutineers tried to take over power in July 2016.
Political analysts who spoke to TellZim News dismissed Chiwenga's threats as mere talk, saying a coup is unconstitutional.
Professor Nhamo Mhiripiri said it is very unlikely that the army would stage a coup.
"I don't think the military will stage a coup because they know it will be unconstitutional and any government that comes to power through that process will not be recognised by SADC, AU, UN and the international community.
"Yes the military are a political force in the Gramscian sense where they juggle and balance the competing civilian political forces without blatantly taking over. Theirs is a delicate but discretional role in the context of contemporary constitutionalism that is based on civilian participatory democracy," said Prof Mhiripiri.
"The President like ours is a civilian first and foremost and as a civilian voted for in a popular democracy, he is then put in charge of not only civilian authority but also becomes Commander in Chief of the Defense Forces. The military knows this such as ours with a liberation history knows this very well and their best bet is to support a civilian politician to take over the reins of power," Prof Mhiripiri said.
Another analyst Dr Davidson Mabweazara Mugodzwa, however, said the country is on the verge of a civil war and the army should have intervened way back when former vice president Joice Mujuru was unjustly fired from both government and Zanu PF.
"The army has the right to intervene before the situation gets out of control. The country is on the brink of a civil war and the military, as a major stakeholder of our politics, have to take control. It will not be a full scale coup but the military will have a major role to play until the country goes for the election.
"The skirmishes in the ruling party have to be arrested and the people behind it are known so the military has to chip in and probably detain such people. Mugabe is no longer in control of his power hungry wife and her faction G40 so someone in the form of the military has to stand up and say enough is enough," said Dr Mugodzwa.
Controversial politician and Mnangagwa strong man Energy Mutodi in 2015 wrote on his Facebook wall that Zanu PF had attained terminal velocity in its gravity-accelerated freefall and there was no stopping it.
"Those forced out of Zanu PF have every reason to celebrate as they have ejected and parachuted to safety before Zanu PF crashes and explodes. They have God to thank for saving them from having to demean and dehumanise themselves by having to worship Mugabe and his wife and behave like robots without free sense.
"What we have learned from North Africa is that just before the regime falls, we will hear of defections and abandonment of ship by many at the top who will condemn Mugabe to save their own hides and be counted with the people to avoid public payback. They will say we were working from inside to bring change but they will be lying," wrote Mutodi then.
Before his death, the late Rtd Col Kudzai Mbudzi said President Mugabe had outlived his usefulness and his continued stay in power coupled with his age was bound to bring down Zanu PF.
"Mugabe has outlived his usefulness and is doing a major disservice to himself and the country. He is destroying the legacy he built and unfortunately, some people are praising him for that. Stubborn flies will follow the corpse to the grave," said the late Mbudzi.top news