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Zimbabwe Military Fractures Amid Ruling Party Splits

  • Older military generation sides with Vice President Mnangagwa
  • President Mugabe’s wife Grace attracts younger supporters
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (C) holds hands with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa (L) and First Lady Grace Mugabe (R) during celebrations marking his birthday at the Great Zimbabwe monument in Masvingo on February 27, 2016. / AFP / JEKESAI NJIKIZANA (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (C) holds hands with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa (L) and First Lady Grace Mugabe (R) during celebrations marking his birthday at the Great Zimbabwe monument in Masvingo on February 27, 2016. / AFP / JEKESAI NJIKIZANA (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Corrected

Zimbabwe’s military is fracturing along generational lines in a potentially dangerous turn for the southern African nation as President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party splits over who will succeed him.

With Mugabe approaching his 93rd birthday and Zimbabwe’s economy imploding, some top military leaders are choosing sides in faction fights of the ruling Zimbabwe-African National Union-Patriotic Front, said four members of the party’s politburo who spoke on condition of anonymity. Veterans of the independence war against the white-minority state of Rhodesia mainly back Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa against Mugabe’s wife, Grace, they said.