HARARE:Zimbabwe Amy General Phillip Valerio Sibanda is at loggerheads with Mnagagwa and Chiwenga; And he is furious that someone deployed soldiers who killed seven people on the streets of Harare on August 1, a shocking new report says.
Zimbabwe’s top soldier confronted President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his vice, Constantino Chiwenga demanding to know why armed soldiers from the Presidential Guard swooped on opposition protesters in central Harare last week.
For the first time, sources close to Sibanda and Chiwenga are reporting that all is not well in the high ranks of Zimbabwe military.
They say there is now a big rift between Constantino Chiwenga and Phillip Valerio Sibanda mainly because the masked soldiers who went on rampage are from the Presidential Guard and they report directly to the President Office not to the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces(ZDF).
Sibanda is allegedly saying Chiwenga has tarnished the image of the Zimbabwe National Army by using rogue soldiers from the Presidential Guard to violently suppress street protests.
Bloomberg, a foreign news site reported that General Sibanda “is demanding to know who ordered troops last week to break up protests against the ruling party’s election victory and why he wasn’t informed about the decision.”
This comes after a UK MP, Kate Hoey, said Zimbabwe should remain under international sanctions “until at the very minimum Constantino Chiwenga is removed from his Vice Presidency and his control of the military.”
Bloomberg reports that General Sibanda met Mnangagwa on August 3 and demanded to know who had authorised the soldier deployment.
“At the meeting with the President, Sibanda, a respected figure who commanded a multinational peace-keeping force in Angola, also wanted to know the identity of armed men dressed in masks that were shown on TV killing people with automatic weapons,” Bloomberg reports.
The paper said Sibanda, 61, “also demanded that Mnangagwa should ensure that members of the ruling party(including Chiwenga) don’t involve themselves in military affairs and the police do their job without relying on the army’s support.”
Asked to comment on the controversies surrounding Chiwenga; Mnangagwa said he is in charge of the military and has not lost power to Chiwenga whom he describes as a long time friend.
“Many people would want me and the Vice President to be loggerheads. Unfortunately they will dream and dream. No one can build durawalls against dreams. Let those people continue to dream.Our friendship dates back to the days of the liberation war,” said Mnangagwa.