President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly reshuffled army chiefs amid reports that he is intensifying his grip on power.
The Independent, a local publication reports that Mnangagwa last month made changes in the PG by naming Lieutenant-Colonel (Lt-Col) Chicha as the commander of 2 PG Battalion.
Chicha took over from Lt-Col Regis Mangezi, who was moved to command the 1 PG Battalion following the ouster of Lt-Col Solomon Murombo from the unit allegedly for keeping a mentally ill person to guard State House.
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Military sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that the latest changes were part of the ongoing drive by Mnangagwa to coup-proof his regime while whittling down Vice President Chiwenga’s influence. Sources said:
The chops and changes are meant to dilute that influence. Initially after the coup, Mnangagwa’s restructuring of the army was seen as a way to reward commanders who played key roles in the coup. But the promotions were also used to remove some powerful commanders, like Sanyatwe, out of key positions so that they are not able to be the backbone of Chiwenga’s presidential bid.”
The publication further reports that Mnangagwa has been elevating commanders from his ethnic Karanga clan, mostly from the Midlands, to the top echelons of most security organisations.