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President Mnangagwa ‘axes’ Major General (Rtd) Engelbert Rugeje from powerful office

Zanu PF leader President Emmerson Mnangagwa has made changes to his party’s politburo the executive arm of the former liberation movement dropping top soldier Engelbert Rugeje as national commissar.

Rugeje has been replaced by Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association secretary general Victor Matemadanda (pictured), highly placed sources told New Zimbabwe.

War veterans spokesperson Douglas Mahiya has been appointed secretary in charge of the former fighters while Headman Moyo will deputise him.

Rugeje one of the most influential military figures in the orchestration of the coup that toppled former President Robert Mugabe, took up the position of national commissar after the party’s extra-ordinary congress in December 2017 amid anger from war veterans.

“Rugeje will leave the politburo in October. He had indicated that he would step-down after the elections. It has just been a matter of time,” a source said.

Another source however told New Zimbabwe that Rugeje’s removal was part of a systematic plan to weaken Vice President Chiwenga seen as the greatest threat to Mnangagwa’s power.

“You will need to link this with the pushing out of top commanders from the army to come up with a clear road-map that has been followed.

“Mnangagwa is in charge and the party will announce that he has power to do under the constitution of the party. Of course its part of the management and given that these changes were made at an extra-ordinary sitting of the politburo,” New Zimbabwe heard.

Zanu PF officials were not immediately available for comment.

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