Zimbabwe army chief criticizes infighting in ruling party

Zimbabwe's army commander says the military is opposed to the instability in the country's ruling party caused by President Robert Mugabe who last week fired a vice president.

Zimbabwe Defense Forces commander Constantino Chiwenga issued a statement Monday, days after Mugabe fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was widely backed by the army and was once viewed as a potential successor to the president.

Mnangagwa's sacking opens the way for Mugabe's wife, Grace, to be named a vice president at the annual conference of the ruling party, ZANU-PF, in December.

Chiwenga said "instability" in the ruling party had caused "distress, trepidation and despondence." He accused the party of expelling senior officials who participated in the 1970s war against white-minority ruled Rhodesia, saying "counter revolutionaries" are plotting to destroy the party.