Zimbabwe's Army Commander Constantino Chiwenga said that the military," will not hesitate to step in," days after President Robert Mugabe fired a vice president who enjoyed the support of the army and once viewed as a potential successor. Picture: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

Harare – Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu PF party on Tuesday responded to Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga’s criticism by referring to it as treason designed to disturb the country’s peace and stability.

Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo in a statement that the part would never give in to threats. He was referring to comments made by Chiwenga on Monday. Chiwenga warned that the military would take “drastic action” if factions in Zanu PF failed to stop purging party members with a military background.

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“Clearly calculated to disturb national peace and stability, the statement by General Constantino Chiwenga, which was not signed, and which did not represent the rest of the command element, suggests treasonable conduct on his part, as this was meant to incite insurrection and violent challenge to the constitutional order,” Khaya Moyo said.

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“Not too far back, the Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces [Mugabe] reminded members of the uniformed forces of their subordinate place and role, viz-a-viz: the political authority of the land. By yesterday’s 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,” he said.