14 November 2017

Zimbabwe: State Media Shuns Chiwenga Statement

The State media Monday blacked out Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga's statement warning President Robert Mugabe to stop the sacking of liberation war veterans from Zanu PF.

Chiwenga was reacting after former Vice President Mnangagwa was fired from government and the ruling party by Mugabe.

Public broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) did not cover Chiwenga's press conference while the state-owned Herald promptly took down an article it had initially posted on its website.

Without offering any explanation, the Herald went further to delete a YouTube video and tweets of the press conference which was held at Army's KG6 offices in Harare and cast live to the world via Facebook.

Mandarins at the information ministry maintain a tight leash on the State media and would likely have ordered the blackout on Chiwenga's statement.

The ministry's permanent secretary and presidential spokesman George Charamba was famously rebuked by Mugabe's wife, Grace, over the state-media's pro-Mnangagwa coverage.

In his statement, Chiwenga demanded a stop to the purging of ruling party members seen as loyal to Mnangagwa who was sacked by Mugabe being disloyal and disrespectful.

Mnangagwa has since gone into exile, claiming assassins had been ordered to take him out. He is thought to be now in South Africa.

"It is sad to note that our revolution has been hijacked by agents of our erstwhile enemies who are at the brink of returning our country to foreign domination against which so many of our people perished," Chiwenga told journalists.

However, political analyst Davies Mukushwa said Chiwenga was trying to insert himself between the people and a collapsing Zanu PF in order to perpetuate the party's hegemony under his leadership and those he chooses to take power with.

Mukushwa urged Zimbabweans to reject what he described as "an opportunistic treachery".

"We must say no to military meddling in partisan politics. What happens in Zanu PF is not army business," he said.

"The army has no business in party politics and it is because of its stupid reactionary ideas that are nowhere near a revolution that resulted in this mess we are in today as a country."

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