Chiwenga ally appointed new army commander; General sanctioned by US over 2018 killings

Chiwenga ally appointed new army commander; General sanctioned by US over 2018 killings

By Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Tanzania, Lieutenant- General Anselem Sanyatwe, new  commander of the national army.

Lt. General Sanyatwe, a close ally of vice president Constantino Chiwenga, takes over from Lieutenant-General David Sigauke who was said to be retiring.

The development was confirmed in a statement by Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Martin Rushwaya.

“President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has, with immediate effect … appointed Lieutenant General Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe to the position of Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army,” reads Rushwaya’s statement.

“The appointment follows the retirement of the outgoing Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, Lieutenant General David Sigauke.”

Sanyatwe was commander of the elite Presidential Guard in 2017 when a military coup toppled Robert Mugabe from power.

A year later, post-election violence rocked Harare as the opposition protested against the outcome, resulting in the deployment of the military to quell the disturbances.

Six civilians died and Sanyatwe was one of the top military commanders who appeared before a commission appointed by Mnangagwa to deny the military was responsible for the killings.

Sanyatwe told the Commission; “if any gunshot wounds were sustained by the victims, it was not from my men. All those were shot before we deployed and this is true because we never came across a dead body.”

However, in 2019, the United States slapped the General with sanctions over the killings.

“The (US Department of State) has credible information that Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe was involved in the violent crackdown against unarmed Zimbabweans during post-election protests on August 1 2018 that resulted in six civilian death,” read a statement imposing the sanctions.

“In addition to the designation of Anselem Sanyatwe, the Department is also publicly designating his spouse Chido Machona. To date, the Government of Zimbabwe has held no member of the security forces accountable for the acts of violence committed against Zimbabwean on August 1, 2018.”

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