Zimbabwe army chief urges ruling party to stop firing ousted VP's supporters
Zimbabwe Defense Forces Commander Constantino Chiwenga on Monday urged the ruling ZANU-PF party to stop the expulsion of party members with liberation war background.
Chiwenga's remarks came after President Robert Mugabe last week fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his political ally for more than 40 years, on allegations of disloyalty and deceit.
The party has said it would also take disciplinary action against scores of party members perceived to be loyal to Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa is currently in self-imposed exile.
Among the big wigs alleged to be loyal to the former vice president and facing the axe are state security minister Kembo Mohadi, cyber security mister Patrick Chinamasa and Environment minister Oppah Muchinguri.
Addressing a press conference in the capital, Chiwenga, a perceived Mnangagwa loyalist, said the purges must stop.
"The current purging which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith," Chiwenga said.
He also urged some party members to stop denigrating the military as it was causing despondency within the rank and file.
Chiwenga said what was happening in the ruling party was a result of machinations of counter revolutionaries who have infiltrated the party to destroy it from within.
The ruling party will next month hold an extra ordinary congress to reaffirm Mugabe's candidature in next year's presidential elections and also amend the party constitution to allow for a female vice president.
The party's ten provinces, the Women's League and the Youth League have endorsed First Lady Grace Mugabe to be the party's female vice president and to replace Mnangagwa.