International publication Reuters has reported that President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Vice President Constantino Chiwenga clashed on how to handle protests by opposition supporters. Bloomberg reports that Mnangagwa and Commander Defense Forces, Philip Valerio Sibanda felt that the situation should have been handled by the Zimbabwe Republic Police. However, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who is also the Minister of Defense and War Veterans insisted that he should handle all security matters as he was in charge of the defense portfolio. Chiwenga is reported to have stated that stability needed to be restored after a poorly managed election process. At least six people died after the military used live bullets to disperse protesting opposition supporters on the 1st of August.
As tension mounted that day, Mnangagwa, Chiwenga, and defence forces chief Philip Sibanda held crisis talks in the presidency offices in Harare, according to the two sources, one from the military and another from ZANU-PF. Several other senior officials were present, they said.
Chiwenga, 61, said that since he held the defence portfolio he should manage security at opposition demonstrations expected the following day, the sources said. Mnangagwa and Sibanda wanted any protests to be handled by the police.
“Chiwenga was unhappy. He said the election had been badly managed and stability needed to be restored. It got heated,” said the military source.
“Chiwenga said no one should forget who got rid of Mugabe.”
Charamba, who speaks for the president and vice-president, declined to comment further. Chiwenga did not answer a call to his phone. An army spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Noone has been arrested yet for the deaths of the protesters and bystanders. However, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised to establish a commission of enquiry to look into the matter.