President Robert Mugabe in conversation with army commander General Constantine Chiwenga. File picture: Reuters
Harare - Zimbabwe armed forces commander, Constantine Chiwenga, who returned to Zimbabwe from China at the weekend, called for an end to purges in President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party and said the security services would stop those “bent on hijacking the revolution.”

General Chiwenga, speaking alongside commanders of the army and airforce, addressed a rare press conference in Harare on Monday, on the upheavals in the Zanu PF following Mugabe’s dismissal of Emmerson Mnangagwa as vice president a week ago. Mnangagwa was also expelled from Zanu PF.

“It is with humility and a heavy heart that we come before you to pronounce the indisputable reality that there is instability in Zanu-PF today and as a result anxiety in the country at large,” he said.

Mnangagwa’s dismissal marked a dramatic shift in politics in Zimbabwe, where he has been a key member of the government for Mugabe, and is regularly identified as his hatchet man against opposition political parties who accuse him of organising the deaths of thousands since independence from the UK in 1980.

He was Zimbabwe’s first national security minister.

Mugabe, 93, has broken with many veterans who fought against the white-minority regime of Rhodesia, leaving a faction, known as G4, dominated by his wife, Grace Mugabe, and other more junior members of the Zanu PF. .

“The current purging which is clearly targeting members of the party with liberation backgrounds must stop forthwith,” General Chiwenga said. Police tried to stop Mr Mnangagwa from leaving Zimbabwe after he was fired but he managed to check out across the border in Mozambique and arrived in South Africa.

Independent Foreign Service