PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa could be agonising over who to appoint Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) commander following the death of his confidante, Edzai Chimonyo who was buried at the National Heroes Acre yesterday.
Addressing mourners at the burial of heroes Chimonyo and Michael Chakabva, Mnangagwa hinted he would have to search deeper and wider for a trusted lieutenant to replace Chimonyo.
“Those serving in the security sector and those serving in our foreign service and diplomatic missions must take time to introspect. Ask yourselves, can you be trusted? Are you loyal, reliable and committed?” Mnangagwa asked.
Having come into office through a military coup, insiders said Mnangagwa preferred a general who was loyal to avoid a situation in which he could also be deposed. Zanu PF is experiencing internal squabbles which could create fertile grounds for another coup.
Mnangagwa heaped praises on the late ZNA commander saying he was very reliable and committed to duty and service to the nation.
“He was reliable and always exuded impeccable loyalty and commitment. He had a unique trait of being able to conduct himself without giving the slightest hint of his deserved status,” Mnangagwa said.
Although many in Matabeleland chided Chimonyo for having been in the command element of the infamous Fifth Brigade which killed over 20 000 civilians during the Gukurahundi era, Mnangagwa credited him for turning the army into a professional force.
“During his tenure, the ZNA has remained a reputable, competent, professional, highly disciplined, combat ready and effective force. His wisdom, fairness, objectivity and professionalism at its helm shall forever be cherished and valued,” Mnangagwa said.
He added: “The form, nature and strategies of our country’s detractors, sellouts and their appendages are glaring and known. Hence, we must remain resolute, focused and steadfast, resisting and deconstructing their machinations and narratives which aim to retard national progress.”