Zimbabwe’s vice president Constantino Chiwenga who also doubles as the country’s war veterans and defence minister has reportedly increased retirement age of senior army officials in a bid to maintain “liberation war veterans stranglehold of the army”.
According to NewsDay, Chiwenga increased the current retirement age of 65 years to 70 years and has “classified them as ‘specialist military personnel’ as the country glides towards a military state”.
The former military chief announced the changes in a government gazette last week.
Analysts have described the move as a strategic attempt to retain the war veteran element in the army whose members might be approaching retirement age, said the report.
The report came a week after the southern African country held its first elections since former veteran ruler Robert Mugabe was deposed.
The elections have been marred by rigging allegations, the army opening fire on opposition demonstrators killing six people, and accusations of a security crackdown on opposition supporters.
According to a Bloomberg report, the country’s military top brass were searching for answers on who gave the orders of shooting unarmed civilians.
General Philip Valerio Sibanda asked for an explanation from President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his security advisers and intelligence chiefs about the events of August 1 which saw at least six unarmed opposition supporters mowed down in the capital Harare by armed soldiers.