Mugabe Gets Youth Wing Backing After Military Criticism

Robert Mugabe and his Youth Chairman Kudzanai Chipanga

The youth wing of Zimbabwe’s ruling party backed President Robert Mugabe after he was criticised by the head of the country’s armed forces for purging the ruling party of opponents.

“Defending the revolution and our leader and president is an ideal we live for and if need be, it is a principle we are prepared to die for,” Kudzai Chipanga, secretary for the Youth League of Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, told reporters on Tuesday in the capital, Harare. “Conniving and conspiring to overthrow a constitutionally elected government is a crime in this country and anywhere in the world.”

Zimbabwe armed forces commander Constantine Chiwenga on Monday called for an end to purges in Mugabe’s ruling party and said the security services would stop those “bent on hijacking the revolution,” signaling a split with the 93-year-old leader.

Chiwenga was commenting on the upheaval in Zanu-PF following Mugabe’s dismissal of Emmerson Mnangagwa as vice president a week ago and his subsequent expulsion from the ruling party. Mnangagwa, an ally of Chiwenga, fled the southern African nation on Dec. 8 because of “incessant threats” against him and his family.