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Zimbabwean generals may face treason charges over WikiLeaked comments

Two Zimbabwean generals may face treason charges for comments made to U.S. ambassador Charles Ray in a 2010 meeting that has now been made public by WikiLeaks: There are now reports that the two will face retribution for their disclosures to the Americans, including possible treason charges. According to South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper, which ...

Two Zimbabwean generals may face treason charges for comments made to U.S. ambassador Charles Ray in a 2010 meeting that has now been made public by WikiLeaks:

There are now reports that the two will face retribution for their disclosures to the Americans, including possible treason charges. According to South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper, which quoted military sources, the top brass of the defence forces are contemplating the court martial of the generals.

"It is a very difficult situation. Some top army commanders see this as a tale of traitors, betrayal and treachery and hence they want a swift response," a senior commander in the military is quoted as saying. "In the army, once you do such things, they charge you with treason and you will be court-martialed."

The cable in question, based on conversations with the officers, describes Gen. Constantine Chiwenga, the commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) as a "political general" with "little practical military experience or expertise.. The generals also say that the senior generals of the ZDF are "so entwined with [President Robert Mugabe’s] ZANU-PF party as to be practically indistinguishable," frustrating those who want to build it into a professional military force.

The cable also notes that the two "took a grave personal risk meeting with us, and their identities should be strictly protected." With thousands of cables including the unredacted names of sources now floating around online, there will likely be more officials facing the consequences for what they told U.S. diplomats in confidence.

(HT: Michael Clemens)

Two Zimbabwean generals may face treason charges for comments made to U.S. ambassador Charles Ray in a 2010 meeting that has now been made public by WikiLeaks:

There are now reports that the two will face retribution for their disclosures to the Americans, including possible treason charges. According to South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper, which quoted military sources, the top brass of the defence forces are contemplating the court martial of the generals.

"It is a very difficult situation. Some top army commanders see this as a tale of traitors, betrayal and treachery and hence they want a swift response," a senior commander in the military is quoted as saying. "In the army, once you do such things, they charge you with treason and you will be court-martialed."

The cable in question, based on conversations with the officers, describes Gen. Constantine Chiwenga, the commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) as a "political general" with "little practical military experience or expertise.. The generals also say that the senior generals of the ZDF are "so entwined with [President Robert Mugabe’s] ZANU-PF party as to be practically indistinguishable," frustrating those who want to build it into a professional military force.

The cable also notes that the two "took a grave personal risk meeting with us, and their identities should be strictly protected." With thousands of cables including the unredacted names of sources now floating around online, there will likely be more officials facing the consequences for what they told U.S. diplomats in confidence.

(HT: Michael Clemens)

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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