Zimbabwe Army Commander Gravely Sick

The Commander of the combined Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Constantine Chiwengwa, is so gravely ill that on Friday night, he was admitted to the Manyame Air Force Base Hospital in Harare and was only released on Sunday afternoon. 

The General arrived at Manyame Air Force Base with an oxygen mask on him, apparently.

The release on Sunday was apparently a self-discharge. Doctors at the hospital had insisted that Chiwengwa needed at least a week under observation in hospital but, "like a true soldier", (according to sources close to him), he checked himself out on Sunday afternoon, saying he had important work to attend to.

President Mugabe visited the General alone on the night he was admitted, Friday. I understand the president stayed for close to three hours.

The Generals wife, Jocelyn, who nearly assaulted Morgan Tsvangirai at a wholesalers a couple of years back, has not been seen in public for some months and it is rumoured that she is also extremely ill and that doctors do not hold much hope for her beyond a couple of months. The last time she was seen on Zimbabwe television was about a year ago.

She was doing humanitarian work with some village women and appeared very gaunt, thin and unwell.

The General himself is a frequent visitor to a hospital in Cuba, the same hospital where General Zvinavashe was last treated in January this year.

General Chiwengwa is currently Public Enemy No 1 with the MDC, who allege that his car was used to abduct Roy Bennet when he was taken from Charles Prince Airport in February this year. The opposition party also claims he is at the forefront of destabilising the Government of National Unity (GNU) by arresting MDC supporters and directing events at the courts to keep MDC prisoners in jail.


Meantime, Grace Mugabe has been declared to have diplomatic immunity in China and Hong Kong and will not face any charges arising from her assault of Sunday Times of London photographer Richard Jones.

Mrs Mugabe was in Hong Kong to collect Bona Mugabe, her and President Mugabe's daughter from University for her vacation back in Zimbabwe. Bona recently returned to Hong Kong after a delay of some weeks in Harare.

The delay was caused by the Chinese authorities putting in measures to protect the First Student. Security has now been beefed up at the Villa where she is staying with the daughter of another ZANU PF cabinet minister while they attend university.

Chinese police are now permamently stationed outside the complex and the Chinese government has now allocated additional plainclothes security to Bona. The Chinese have also worked with Mugabe's security to put in place a contingency plan for evacuation, if needed. It was only after the new measures were in place, I am told, that Bona went back.


There is chaos in Harare today and you should not be surprised to hear later on that soldiers have gone on the ramapge again.

First street is absolutely choked with soldiers, policemen, teachers and other civil servants who are failing to access their US$100 salaries. They have been trying since Friday and it clear this morning on First Street that some of them have slept at the banks waiting for them to open. There are blankets and long jackets spread on the pavement, where the civil servants are sitting waiting for the money to get to the banks.

I was very impressed by the soldier's queue. Straight as an arrow, with all of them standing straight, it looked like they were on parade when I passed by CABS First Street this morning!!


  1. I have discussed Biti’s documents with friends and we all seem to be confused. Denford can you please find out what its intended purpose was and who was the target audience? Trying to be diplomatic here. These boys do not seem to realize that the world is gauging their individual technical ability right now: one still has to produce a sound policy statement regardless of Mugabe and Zanu’s political shenanigans.

  2. @Nyatsimba Mutota: this is very true, what you are saying about the lack of policy, never mind policy direction, from the MDC.

    As for your question about the intended target audience, the answer is simple enough: Biti's was yet again playing to the gallery of populist dogma.

    This was merely an attempt to buy the loyalties of the civil servants, including even embassies overseas, which have failed utterly to promote either the image of the country or avenues of friendship.

    They are all being bought by this consumptive budget.


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