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Major General Chanakira's Death Divides Mnangagwa, Chiwenga - Report

Major General Chanakira's Death Divides Mnangagwa, Chiwenga - Report

The death of Retired Major General Godfrey Chanakira has reportedly increased tensions between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga.

President Mnangagwa initially denied Chanakira national hero status by simply offering a State-assisted funeral but later made a U-turn and accorded him the highest honour for heroes.

NewsDay was told that Mnangagwa was offended by Chiwenga’s announcement that Chanakira was a national hero before internal processes had been followed. Chiwenga said when he visited Chanakira’s family:

His works, in service of his country, are there for all of us to see. He is a national hero. But we have internal processes in the party that we have to follow and a meeting will soon be held, that could be tomorrow or a day after, to see which honour is most consistent with his work.

Hours later, deputy presidential spokesperson Regis Chikowore announced that Mnangagwa had directed that the late army general be accorded a State-assisted funeral.

It is reported that Mnangagwa only accorded the national hero status following murmurs of disapproval amongst political elites and the military command.

Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda confirmed that the national hero status decision was reached after further consultations.

Political analyst Pardon Taodzera said Mnangagwa wanted to show Chiwenga who is the real boss by denying Chanakira hero status. He added:

The mere fact that Chiwenga has maintained close relations with his former colleagues in the army is making the President uneasy.

Differences between Mnangagwa and Chiwenga emerged in 2017 over several issues such as key appointments, including Cabinet posts and Mnangagwa’s tenure.

Many generals considered Chiwenga’s allies were retired by Mnangagwa while some were redeployed outside the country.

Mnangagwa last week admitted that there was factionalism in the ruling party. 

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