Zimbabwe has announced the retirement of army chief Constantino Chiwenga, who led a coup that ended Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule, in a move seen as paving way for his elevation to vice-presidency.

The news came as Chiwenga appeared on state television warning the army would step in to put a stop to feuding in the ruling Zanu-PF party.

“General Constantino Guvheya Dominic Nyikadzino Chiwenga is set to retire, pending redeployment,” said Misheck Sibanda, the chief secretary to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Dewa Mavhinga, southern Africa director of Human Rights Watch, said Chiwenga’s retirement was “pending redeployment likely to be vice president.”
“Is this what the military takeover was really about?” he said on Twitter.

The government also announced the impending retirement of police chief Augustine Chihuri, a close ally of Mugabe associated with a faction that backed Mugabe’s wife Grace as his successor.

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