Zimbabwe ruling party youth wing accuses army chief of subverting constitution

President Robert Mugabe listens to his wife Grace Mugabe at a rally of his ruling ZANU-PF party in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 8, 2017.REUTERS

Zimbabwe’s ruling party youth has accused the military chief  of subverting the constitution for threatening to intervene after President Robert Mugabe plunged the country into political crisis by sacking his vice president last week.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a long-serving veteran of Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation wars, had been viewed as a likely successor to Mugabe before the president fired him on November 6.

Mnangagwa’s removal provides a boost for Grace Mugabe, the wife of the president, who is supported by the largely youthful G40 faction of ZANU-PF to succeed her husband.
Her rise has brought her into conflict with the independence-era war veterans, who once enjoyed a privileged role in the ruling party under Mugabe, but who have increasingly been banished from senior government and party roles in recent years.
The country’s top general, Constantino Chiwenga warned on Monday that the military would not hesitate to step in to end purges against former liberation war fighters in President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party after Emmerson Mnangagwa was stripped of his vice president’s post.


“The current purging … targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith,” he said.

The military has supported Mugabe throw the 37 years he has been in power. The force has always said it will not support anyone for president who did not fight in the liberation war.

Mugabe was chairing a weekly cabinet meeting in the capital on Tuesday. Neither the president nor his wife responded immediately to the general’s remarks, but a strong denunciation from the ruling party youth wing on Tuesday signaled that Grace Mugabe’s supporters were prepared to defend her, Reuters reports.

“We will not fold our hands to allow a creature of the constitution to subvert the very constitution which establishes it,” Kudzai Chipanga, who leads the ZANU-PF Youth League, said at the party’s headquarters in Harare.