By Ebi Kesiena
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly fired several high-ranking members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) for allegedly failing to control their subordinates who walked out on him during the handover of military equipment by the Chinese government last week.
According to reports, several low-ranking army officers who were seated in the open abandoned the event and sought shelter on buses following heavy rainfall while Mnangagwa was speaking.
The President, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the ZDF, was speaking during the handover ceremony at Inkomo Mechanised Brigade, a few kilometres outside Harare.
As quoting NewsDay, sources as saying regimental sergeant majors from the Parachute Regiment, Special Air Services and Mechanised Brigade were fired.
The officer commanding Inkomo Barracks Mechanised Brigade was reportedly demoted, while several Majors were transferred and pending court-martial for failing to control their troops said a source.
During President Mnangagwa’s speech, a heavy downpour caused troops seated in the open to scramble for cover on a bus.
This was interpreted as disrespect towards the Commander-in-Chief and frankly, quite embarrassing.
A flash message notified regimental sergeant majors of their dismissal due to their inability to command their troops.
Confusion has arisen as some dismissed individuals have reported for duty.
The abruptness and severity of these dismissals have unsettled many within the ZDF.
The lack of clarity surrounding the specific charges has fuelled frustration and confusion.
Contacted for comment by NewsDay ZDF spokesperson Colonel Alphios Makotore said he would respond via email. He was quoted as saying:
I will email you our response. I saw your message and we are processing it.
However, Makotore had not responded to the questions by the time the story was published.
The dismissals have reportedly caused discontent and low morale within the military.