Mnangagwa ‘fires’ Airforce commander shortly after bomb alert

By Staff Writer

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office has announced the retirement of Airforce of Zimbabwe (AFZ) Commander, Air Mashal Elson Moyo.

The latest development comes just a few hours after a bomb scare that resulted in Mnangagwa aborting a Victoria Falls engagement this Friday.

In a statement, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Martin Rushwaya said the president had exercised his discretion as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe to relieve Moyo of his duties.

“His Excellency, President Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has in terms of section 340(l)(f) as read with sections 216(2) and 89 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20), retired Air Mashal Elson Moyo as Commander of the Airforce of Zimbabwe with effect from 15th March 2024.

“Following the above retirement, His Excellency, the President, has in terms of section 216(2), 89 and 110(2)(d) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe (No. 20) appointed Air Vice Marshal John Jacob Nzvede as the new Commander of the Airforce of Zimbabwe with effect from 15th March 2024,” said Rushwaya.

Moyo’s retirement, which has been widely interpreted as dismissal, came shortly after alarm was raised over a suspected bomb planted at Victoria Falls International Airport, which forced Mnangagwa’s Falcon 7X aircraft to make a U-turn to Harare.

The Zanu PF leader was expected to officiate the closing ceremony of a renewable energy conference held in the resort town.

In a statement presidential spokesperson, George Charamba, said airport authorities had been made aware of an email sent through Fastjet Airlines by an unknown individual that there had been “credible bomb/firearm threat” targeting Zimbabwean airports.

Charamba added “As a precaution, the country’s security systems are now on heightened alert following this message who source and credibility is also being investigated.

“While our country is peaceful, and all our ports are well secured, such alerts on possible terrorist attacks are taken and treated very seriously, as nothing should be left to chance”.

According to media reports, some flights into the airport were forced to divert to Livingstone, Zambia while Mnangagwa’s plane returned to Harare in the wake of the imminent threat.

The octogenarian president survived a bomb blast at White City Stadium in Bulawayo on June 23, 2018 in what Zanu PF viewed as an assassination attempt.

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