, HARERE, September 15- Zimbabwe’s army chief warned those jostling to succeed President Robert Mugabe not to try and drag the military into politics Monday, amid escalating public fights between contenders.
Constantine Chiwenga — a close ally of Mugabe, who could hold the key to the veteran ruler’s succession — said the military would not get involved in “minor issues.”
“Only if Zimbabwe is being threatened, then we will come in,” he said in rare politically-tinged comments, delivered to the state owned Herald newspaper.
With Mugabe now in his nineties, behind the scenes fighting for position within his ruling ZANU-PF party has spilled into the public domain.
Many contenders are rumoured to be wooing the military in anticipation of a final leadership battle.
ZANU-PF will in December elect a party leader and members of its powerful central committee.
Mugabe has ruled the country since 1980 and is expected to secure the leadership nomination again, but there is fierce jockeying for other posts.
The jostling has escalated in recent weeks following the nomination of Mugabe’s wife Grace to lead the party’s powerful women’s wing.
The home of vice president Joice Mujuru, one of the frontrunners to follow Mugabe, recently burned down in suspicious circumstances.