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Chiwenga re-emerges in China amid mounting tensions in Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter
10 Nov 2017 at 05:50hrs | Views
Gen. Li Zuocheng (L), chief of the Joint Staff Department under China's Central Military Commission, holds a welcoming ceremony for Gen. Constantine Guveya Chiwenga (R), commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces, in Beijing on Nov 8, 2017. (mod.gov.cn/Li Xiaowei)
Gen. Li Zuocheng, member of China's Central Military Commission (CMC) and chief of the Joint Staff Department under the CMC, met with Gen. Constantine Guveya Chiwenga, commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces in Beijing on Wednesday.

Li said China and Zimbabwe are all-weather friends, in recent years, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe have held many meetings and reached important consensus on deepening the friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Zimbabwe, charting the direction for future development of bilateral relations between the two countries.

Li said the Chinese military is willing to make joint efforts with the Zimbabwe military to maintain high-level exchange of visits, deepen pragmatic cooperation in areas of personnel training, college education, as well as equipment and technology, continuously elevating the level of relations between the two militaries.

Li also introduced the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to Chiwenga. He said the 19th CPC National Congress will also have a far-reaching impact on China's development of relations with world countries including Zimbabwe.

Chiwenga congratulated the success of the 19th CPC National Congress. He said Zimbabwe is willing to deepen exchanges and cooperation in all fields with China to promote the rapid development of bilateral state and military relations between the two countries.

Before their meeting, Li held a welcoming ceremony for Chiwenga and accompanied him to review the honor guard of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

Speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony for a hospital to be built in Sengwe in Chiredzi South last month, Chiwengwa reiterated statements made by Army Generals before that the country can never be taken over by someone without liberation war credentials.

The function was attended by several senior Army officers including Army Chief of Staff, General Trust Mugoba who made Zanu-PF slogans at the end of the proceedings.

"We will never allow sellouts or whites to take over this country," declared Chiwengwa.


Gen. Li Zuocheng (1st R), chief of the Joint Staff Department under China's Central Military Commission, meets with Gen. Constantine Guveya Chiwenga (1st L) , commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces, in Beijing on Nov 8, 2017. (mod.gov.cn/Li Xiaowei)


Zanu-PF is divided through the middle with two factions namely G40 believed to be led by the First Lady Grace Mugabe and Lacoste which is loyal to Vice President Mnangagwa fighting to take over power from the ageing President. G40 has few members who participated in the liberation struggle.

General Chiwenga was recently accused by the First Lady of supporting Mnangagwa in the succession politics. Mugabe himself warned the Army last month to stop dabbling in politics and said such action was tantamount to a coup. He also announced that he was going to retire top Army generals before the end of this year and generals had tended to observe Mugabe's warning since then.

"Many lives were lost during the liberation struggle and that should give us more resolve on where we are coming from and where we are going as a country. We are facing many challenges as a people but we should not lose focus. The blood lost should not be in vain. We should continue to jealously guard our country and its sovereignty. We will never allow it to go into the hands of puppets or the whites," declared Chiwenga.

Former United States congressman Mel Reynolds who is a two time convicted felon on Monday claimed that his sources in the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) advised him that President Robert Mugabe is threatening to arrest General Constantino Chiwenga.

Chiwenga is the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and according to Reynolds he was fired by Mugabe but is refusing to go. This comes after former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was fired earlier on today over a number of allegations.

Chiwenga is known to have openly supported  Mnangagwa.The former congressman revealed this in a series of tweets, although the information is yet to be verified. Writing on microblogging site Twitter Reynolds said:

According to his profile, Reynolds is also a U.S.Representative (Retired), an Army Officer, and a US Special Forces agent. Meanwhile, he has since deleted his first Tweet, However it read.

Predisent Mugabe's declaration that the "politics shall lead the gun" will only be respected to a certain point beyond which is a "red line" which must never be crossed, Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga has said.

Chiwenga told State media journalists on the eve of Defence Forces Day that the country's security apparatus would never allow Zimbabwe to descend into the kind of chaos that has been witnessed in the Middle East.

"If people are discussing, this is a democratic country. They will say whatever they want to say, they can talk, but there is a red line which can never be crossed. When one causes the country to be in turmoil, when you become an enemy of the State and an enemy of the people and we will tell you, no, you are overstepping, that is not the correct way," Chiwenga said.

Mugabe (93) told a Zanu-PF women's league meeting recently that there were secret meetings at which the military was involved in what he claimed could be characterised as a coup plot.

"There are secret manoeuvres going on. The military has no right to be interfering with the political processes. Theirs is to support; they can give their own views within the Constitution and according, also, to the principle that politics shall always lead the gun – and not the gun leading politics. That would be a coup," Mugabe said then.

Mugabe was forced to call-out Chiwenga as well as other securocrats following a public spat between the Defence Forces chief and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo as Zanu-PF's bitter succession struggles threatened to boil over.

There have been reports that Mugabe might be considering retiring Chiwenga.

But Chiwenga said relations between the belligerent military and political leaders was good.

"The relations (with politicians) are very good. We are very clear where we think things or a person is not saying the correct thing, we will tell (them). Because it is our role to make sure that nobody causes conflict which can then confuse people and make people fail to understand what is going on. Peace, stability and tranquillity," Chiwenga said.

Senior politicians in Zanu-PF are involved in a brutal scrap for Mugabe's throne with the former liberation movement split between two distinct groups. Front-runner Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was allegedly poisoned and is reportedly battling for his life in a South African hospital.

Mnangagwa has support from veterans of the liberation struggle and sections of the security establishment. Another leading contender is Mugabe's wife Grace, but the G40 faction has of late thrown another liberation war stalwart, Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi's name into the ring. Grace was charged with common assault in South Africa after bashing a woman she found in the company of her two sons.

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