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Lt-General Chimonyo (R) seated next to Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander, General Phillip Valerio Sibanda

Army commander Chimonyo airlifted

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THE Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Lieutenant-General Edzai Absalom Chanyuka Chimonyo is reportedly seriously ill and has been airlifted to India for treatment.
Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri, who is also Zanu PF national chairperson, refused to comment on the matter, saying she was occupied with issues arising from the party’s district coordinating committee elections over the weekend.
ZNA spokesperson Colonel Alphios Makotore said he could not comment on the matter as he was on leave.
Security sources, however, said the ZNA commander was battling a lung disease in India. It is not clear if that is linked to the virulent global pandemic Covid-19 which has infected over 11 000 people and killed at least 304. Globally the coronavirus has killed more than 1.5 million people.
Chimonyo was appointed ZNA commander on 18 December 2017 following the November 2017 military coup which toppled the late former president Robert Mugabe and catapulted President Emmerson Mnangagwa to power.
A month after the coup, Mnangagwa appointed then ZNA commander Philip Valerio Sibanda commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, a position which was previously occupied by General Constantino Chiwenga, now co-Vice-President and Health minister. Chiwenga was retired, pending re-deployment, paving way for his appointment as one of Mnangagwa’s two deputies alongside Kembo Mohadi.
Sibanda’s elevation created room for Chimonyo to take over the reins at the ZNA.
Before his appointment, Chimonyo served as Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda. – STAFF WRITER

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