Yesterday, the Generals came together and issued a statement which was addressed to President Robert Mugabe as the head of ZANU PF the political party. The argument being that the repercussions of the instability in the party have security implications where the armed forces would be called upon to intervene.
By Lloyd Msipa
The people who are causing this instability are those mocking the army, the youth league, Professor Jonathan Moyo and Dr Amai. Also, that the expulsions of members from ZANU PF has caused instability in the country as the Zanu PF is the party that has always ruled Zimbabwe since independence. What happens in that party has far reaching implications.
The Simon Khaya treason charge
The response to the Generals statement presented by Zanu PF party spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo was issued at party level. A political party can’t charge a serving General with treason. He is not a politician. The statement by the Generals is not addressing Mugabe as head of state, but as head of a political party. If the Generals had addressed him as the president of Zimbabwe in their statement, the Generals could be charged with undermining the authority of the president. The Generals have been very smart in the way the issued the statement.
They obviously considered all scenarios. So far, the head of the political party hasn’t responded. The response has come from the youth league and the party spokesperson with a statement accusing the General Chiwenga of treason and that he doesn’t have the support of the rest of the army. The people responding to the army Generals are civilians. The army has a strict chain of command. This now takes us into unchartered territory as possible scenarios are now on the table.
Impact of the party statement.
The statements released by Chipanga, the ZANU PF youth leader and the party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo are not addressing the issues the Generals raised. In fact, they are trying to isolate General Chiwenga from the rest of the soldiers. They are trying to sell the narrative that he is alone. That he is not a good General and that everyone else is ok. This is a further attempt to cause instability within the army. These are civilians speaking the language of instability in the army using a statement from a political party.
Soldiers are soldiers
The statement issued by the army and read by General Chiwenga had the input of all the soldiers. Here is why. The top senior members where at the press briefing or where represented. Apart from General Chiwenga, the Chief of the army Phillip Valerio Sibanda was there. Air vice Marshall E Moyo, major General Nyikayaramba, all the four major Generals, two Air Vice Marshalls, all Brigadier Generals and Air Commodores, all Colonels and group captains including all base commanders.
What it means is all heads of military bases, commonly known as base commanders in the country were represented. Base commanders are the custodians of all armoury in the various bases and they are the ones who issue orders. For them to be in the same room, it means consultation would have taken place. The moto of the army is that if you attack one of them, you have attacked all.
The statement read by Simon Khaya Moyo attacks one of them. The threat of a treason charge is very serious. The Generals are not likely to take being threatened by civilians lightly. So, the possible scenarios are that the army may carry out their threat soon. The party statement has driven a wedge between the Commander in Chief of the Defence forces (President Mugabe) and the Commander of the defence forces (CDF) General Chiwenga and his soldiers. The relationship and respect are gone. Either Mugabe fires Chiwenga, which maybe too late to do or Chiwenga takes Mugabe down. The next 48 hours will be instructive.