Zimbwabwe president Emmerson Mnangagwa retired four generals on Monday, in the first major shake-up of the armed forces since he took office and including the man who led a deadly crackdown against post-election protests in August.
The quartet’s removal also coincided with the absence abroad of Vice president Constatino Chiwenga the retired general responsible for ousting former president Robert Mugabe in November 2017 and now widely viewed inside the country as the power behind Mnangagwa’s administration.
According to Zimbabwe government spokesman all four generals will be appointed to diplomatic posts overseas in line with Zimbabwe’s “critical global engagement and re-engagement strategy,” said.
Mnangagwa has been under increasing pressure to take action over allegations of brutality by the security forces since a second crackdown in January, triggered by a sharp hike in fuel costs that he had decreed.
That violence led to accusations from opposition parties that the country is reverting to the authoritarian rule that characterised much of Mugabe’s 37-year rule.