Ex-Presidential Guard boss Sanyatwe appointed army commander

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By Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe to the position of Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), with immediate effect following the retirement of Lt Gen David Sigauke.

In a press statement issued this Friday, October 20, 2023, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Martin Rushwaya, said the appointment was in line with Constitutional provisions.

“His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde Dr. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has, with immediate effect and in terms of section 216 (2) as read with sections 89 and 110 (2)g of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20), appointed Lt Gen Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe to the position of Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA).

“The appointment follows the retirement of the outgoing Commander of the ZNA, Lt Gen David Sigauke,” reads the notice.

Sanyatwe is a former  Presidential Guard commander, who in 2018, then with the rank of Brigadier, was the tactical schemer of the force deployed on 1 August to deal with election-related demonstrations in central Harare.

Sanyatwe is infamous for giving misleading evidence to the Mothlante Commission public inquiry into the 2018 post-election violence that left some citizens dead.

In December 2018, Sanyatwe was promoted to the rank of Major General.

Viewed as Vice President Constantino Chiwenga loyalist, Sanyatwe was shockingly retired and on May 29, 2019 designated Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Tanzania.

This was Mnangagwa’s first reshuffle of the top military posts which claimed the scalps of mostly Chiwenga-aligned high-ranking soldiers in a bid to consolidate his power in the wake of cracks in Zanu PF and rumours his subordinate harboured presidential ambitions.

The other three were the late Maj Gen Douglas Nyikayaramba, Inspector General of the Defence Force; Maj Gen Martin Chedondo, Chief of Army Staff; and Air Vice Marshal Shebba Shumbayawonda. All four were later sent overseas on unspecified diplomatic missions.

The new army chief’s wife, Chido Sanyatwe, is a Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Nyanga North, who was recently appointed Home Affairs deputy minister ostensibly at the behest of Chiwenga.