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Mnangagwa removed Chiwenga from army to prevent another coup: Book

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |

The book that President Emmerson Mnangagwa colourfully endorsed recently claims he removed Vice President Constantino Chiwenga from the army to avoid another military coup.

General Constantino Chiwenga and President Emmerson Mnangagwa
General Constantino Chiwenga and President Emmerson Mnangagwa

‘A Life of Sacrifice’, a 153 page biography that tells the life history of Mnangagwa, from childhood to presidency, has been put under thorough review by UK-based academic and biographer Blessing Miles Tendi.

Tendi noted that the book that was authored by former opposition MDC secretary of policy Eddie Cross claimed that Chiwenga who led the army that overthrew late former president Robert Mugabe and installed Mnangagwa is ill at ease with his boss.

Cross said Mnangagwa replaced Chiwenga with Phillip Valerio Sibanda, whom he regards as “a loyal and best soldier”, as commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in order to protect himself from another coup.

Tendi noted that when Mnangagwa set to select a new cabinet and senior staff in the president’s office after the coup, the work was “complicated” because of the “demands being made by the senior military officers who had carried out what became known as the military assisted transition (military coup). Chief among these was the commander of the armed forces, General Chiwenga”.

The books went on to say that Mnangagwa’s first cabinet “received mixed reviews” from the public because it contained “too many military figures”.

In his review, Tendi noted Cross’s sentiments that Sibanda is “possibly the best soldier in southern Africa and a man that was deeply respected in the army. Mnangagwa’s actions drew little attention but what the president was doing was closing the door on any possibility of the military assisted transition (military coup) being repeated. He needed to know that the security services were led by men in whom he had confidence as professionals”.

Cross also contended that a grenade that was thrown at Mnangagwa on 23 June 2018 during a Zanu PF rally at White City stadium in Bulawayo “was of Chinese origin and in use by the Zimbabwe National Army” raising suspicion that Chiwenga was involved due to his close relations with the Chinese.

This is despite the fact that Chiwenga was present at the White City rally and his wife Marry sustained injuries from the blast and “Cross, curiously, does not mention this. Of the two vice presidents, only Kembo Mohadi is identified as present at the rally and as having sustained injuries along with 47 others.”

Tendi however, noted five “historical falsehoods and silences in the book.

1. Mnangagwa was not a member of the Crocodile Gang.
2. Silence on the 1980’s Gukurahundi
3. Silence on the DRC War
4. Silence on the death of Solomon Mujuru
5. The 2017 military coup is referred to as a “military assisted transition”.

Mnangagwa’s former advisor Christopher Mutsvangwa was angered by Tendi’s book review and hit back telling him “you are free to write oceans of ink and forests of paper on selected topics of your choice on any historical event.

“What you cannot do is compel Eddie Cross to write about what he independently thinks,” Mutsvangwa said.

“You simply are just not his brain box. His grey matter is not your real estate. Neither is his writing hand your narcissist pen.” Nehanda Radio

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