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Warning Shots: Zimbabwe Coup Leader Returns Amid Crisis

Harare - Days after a junior army officer reportedly fired shots into the air, Constantino Chiwenga, the former army general who led the co...

Harare - Days after a junior army officer reportedly fired shots into the air, Constantino Chiwenga, the former army general who led the coup that toppled Robert Mugabe, arrived home after a prolonged absence in China for treatment. 

According to media outlets, the trooper, apparently engaged in a fistfight with his commander, a Brigadier-General Mhonda during interrogation after he was disarmed.

The soldier who has been identified as ‘Private Mugadu’ apparently has a ‘troubled history” and had to be shipped to a military facility for psychiatric assessment after the ‘deeply troubling’ episode to establish his mental well being.

This incident comes after Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri recently appraised legislators on the dire state of finances in the military.

“Without any warning, the soldier pumped 30 shots into the air, sending many people into panic before some brave soldiers close to him managed to apprehend him as he was reloading his gun.

“The incident took place on Tuesday afternoon and I understand that the soldier is currently detained,” an insider told the Daily News.
Chiwenga Being Received by a Chinese Official at Harare Airport on his Return 

According to the source, the young soldier once wanted to quit after serving his mandatory three years but his request was turned down by Commanding Officer Samson Murombo who tore up his resignation letter together with those of other nine soldiers who wanted to leave.

Another source said that when Mugadu was disarmed, he was taken to the Presidential Guard base camp, where he was interrogated by the base camp commander Brigadier-General Mhonda — with the two men ending up engaging in a fistfight.

“He (Mugadu) accused his superiors … of living it up while the rank and file were suffering. As of yesterday (Thursday), he was said to be no longer co-operating — insisting on seeing the President or the Defence Forces commander (General Philip Valerio Sibanda).

“He has a history of mental health problems which is said to have been detected when he was about 15. He also has a 23-year-old brother who is also said to be mentally ill.

“Among the things he said was that even if he was silenced, there were more soldiers with similar feelings like him,” yet another source told the Daily News last night.

Reached for a comment about the “Statehouse gunshots soldier‘Zimbabwe Defense Forces Spokesperson Overson Mugwisi said he couldn’t comment on the matter as it fell under the domain of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and referred questions to Army Spokesperson Colonel (Alphios) Makotore.

Makotore in turn referred all the questioning to the State Residence while President Mnangagwa’s spokesperson said he hadn’t been appraised about the situation yet.

Meanwhile, the ruling party Zanu-PF has rubbished rumors of a purported rift between President Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga who returned home from China on Saturday morning following a prolonged illness.

Upon his arrival, the rumor mill went into overdrive after he was welcomed by the Chinese deputy ambassador without any government official in sight. There were whispers that President Mngangagwa wasn’t even aware that his deputy was coming back, which led many to believe that tensions were rife between the two men.

However Chiwenga went on to tell the media that had it not been for President Mnangagwa’s quick intervention to send him to China for medical care, he would be history. Zanu-PF national spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo said such purported claims did not exist and should not be dignified.

“There is nothing like that. That is wishful thinking,” briefly said Khaya-Moyo. He said the party was happy with Chiwenga’s recovery and return to the country in good health.

“The revolutionary Zanu-PF party welcomes home the indomitable Vice President Retired General Dr Constantino Chiwenga after a spell in the people’s Republic of China for medical attention.

“The Vice President is also Second Secretary of our glorious party. I’ve no doubt that every patriotic Zimbabwean is filled with warmth, delight for his recovery and return. God is great and we praise Him with great reverence. He is indeed worth the praise,” said Khaya Moyo.

On arrival, president Mnangagwa said Chiwenga’s illness had troubled him hence the engagement of the Chinese Government for his medical treatment.

“When he left, he was unwell, which was giving us sleepless nights because our comrade was unwell. So, we arranged for him to go to South Africa and while he was there, we spoke to our Chinese friends, we spoke to President Xi Jinping, who is our dear friend, who offered to assist with his treatment.

We saw it fit for the VP to go to China. We flew him there and he stayed there for a number of months. Now you can see for yourselves that he has regained his fitness and he is clear-minded. When he initially left, he was having memory lapses, and he was in so much pain that everyone could tell the agony he was in,” said President Mnangagwa.

Chiwenga’s return has sparked a myriad of reactions in Zimbabweans, especially given that he returned home in a Chinese plane and was actually welcomed by officials from the Chinese Embassy.

Spotlight Zimbabwe has been claiming, that Mnangagwa’s removal was imminent for the better part of this year. The website accurately predicted the military coup against former President Robert Mugabe back in 2017.

According to the reports, the military is unhappy with the way the economy has deteriorated under Mnangagwa. Pastor Ian Nldovu has said there will be "rapid changes in Zimbabwe" during his recent sermon in Bulawayo.

Ironically, Mnangagwa deposed his former mentor via a military coup, a great betrayal that Mugabe never forgave him for. The former President died a bitter man and refused to be buried at the National Heroes Acre because he did not wish to give Mnangagwa a chance to pontificate over his body. - Online Sources

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