President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday announced the retirement of four top military generals in what analysts consider a move calculated to ring-fence himself with loyalists from his Midlands province.
In a Monday statement, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda announced the retirement of the four, Major Generals Martin Chedondo, Douglas Nyikayaramba, Anselem Sanyatwe and Air Vice Marshal Shebba Shumbayaonda. The statement read in part:
The Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr D J M Sibanda, today announced the decision by His Excellency the President Emmerson Mnangagwa to retire and reassign senior military officers to diplomatic service in line with government’s critical global engagement and re-engagement strategy.
Since taking over power in a military-backed coup in 2017, Mnangagwa has reportedly replaced top military and government officials with perceived loyalists.
A NewZimbabwe.com report says:
Mnangagwa has already made key changes within the Air Force of Zimbabwe where Air Marshall Elson Moyo took over from the now Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri after the coup.
General Philip Valerio Sibanda is now Commander Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Edzai Chimonyo was recalled from diplomatic service to take charge of the army, Isaac Moyo was brought back from South Africa where he was Zimbabwe’s envoy to take over as Central Intelligence Organisation chief.
Sibanda, Chimonyo, Elson Moyo and Isaac Moyo all hail from Mnangagwa’s home province of the Midlands and are believed to be closely related to the President.
Renowned political scientist and academic, Professor Jonathan Moyo said:
… Mnangagwa is using the absence of Chiwenga, whose health has reportedly deteriorated, to ring out system-wide changes in the military!
One need not be a rocket scientist to unpack the kindred of the dismissed generals, their links to the indisposed Chiwenga, that few countries would accept their credentials and that some human rights NGOs might ask ICC questions about them once they’re touchable out of Zimbabwe!