By Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has rewarded with a higher rank, Brigadier General Anselem Sanyatwe who commanded a crack army unit accused of shooting and killing six civilians during the ill-fated August 1 post-election protests by opposition supporters in central Harare.
Sanyatwe, who is the Commander of the Presidential Guard, was promoted together with Military Intelligence Department boss Thomas Moyo to the rank of Major General.
Their elevation came through the recommendations of Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Philip Valerio Sibanda, according to citations seen by the media.
“In terms of Section 15 (1) (b) (2) of the Defence Act Chapter 11:02, His Excellency the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces may promote or temporarily appoint an officer to a higher rank.
“The Commander Defence Forces considered potential Brigadier Generals suitable for promotion to the rank of Major General.
“His Excellency, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces consented and consequently was pleased to promote you Brigadier General Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe to the substantive rank of Major General with effect from 8 December 2018,” the citations read in part.
While the army was not forthcoming with confirmation on the promotions, State broadcaster ZBC said General Sibanda had conferred ranks on newly promoted senior officers and encouraged them to continue working hard in their new responsibilities.
President Mnangagwa also promoted some senior members of the Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ).
“A female senior officer Paridzirai Mazhindu was promoted from the rank of 1 Wing Commander to the substantive rank of Group Captain, while 16 squadron leaders were promoted to the substantive rank of wing commanders,” according to a ZBC report Monday.
But spotlight falls sharply on Sanyatwe who stunned all and sundry last month when he openly distanced his charges from the August shootings.
Giving oral evidence before the Kgalema Motlanthe’s Commission of Inquiry into the bloody disturbances, Sanyatwe demanded evidence from those who accuse the military of causing the deaths.
Mnangagwa has promised to release the report into the probe team’s work this week.
But his bold decision to promote an officer who is under fire for allegedly causing the killings could be among the earliest hints the commission may have absolved the military from any wrongdoing.