General Philip Valerio Sibanda is a Zimbabwean military general and the current Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. Before that, Sibanda was the Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army a position he held from December 2003 to December 2017. He succeeded General Constantino Chiwenga as the Commander Defence Forces in December 2017. Sibanda was the Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army when the Zimbabwe Defence Forces launched Operation Restore Legacy in November 2017. General Sibanda is the first former ZIPRA Cadre to hold the rank of Commander Defence Forces.
Philip Valerio Sibanda
|Commander - Zimbabwe National Army|
|Assumed office |
December 18, 2017
|Preceded by||General Constantino Chiwenga|
|Profession||Soldier, Military Commander|
General Philip Valerio Sibanda is from Midlands and attended his secondary education at Marist Brothers Dete Secondary School.
War of liberation
Sibanda left the country in 1973 to join the liberation struggle. He received military training at Morogoro under the likes of Retired Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri. His war alias was Ananias Gwenzi. He completed his training in Tanzania and proceeded to Lebanon for 9 months where he received vigorous training under the Palestinian Liberation Organization at Jalub. When he returned In 1975 he became an instructor at the newly opened Mbwembwesi training camp in Tanzania. He was then seconded to form part of the military commanders running Morogoro under the ZIPA. Among the Morogoro-based Zanla Commanders in Zipa were Constantino Chiwenga (commissar), Perence Shiri and Augustine Chihuri (Stephen Chocha). From ZIPRA there was Eddie Sigoge Mlotshwa and Sam Fakazi. He also became the commander of the GC-B region.
After the death of Alfred Nikita Mangena in 1978, he became the camp commander for the CGT (Communist Guerrilla Training) camp, located about 60 miles east of Lusaka. He was initially appointed to the ZIPRA High Command as chief of training, however, he swapped that position with Eddie “Sigoge” Mlotshwa for Chief Of Reconnaissance leading the Military Intelligence department.
After the War of liberation
Sibanda formerly joined the Zimbabwe National Army at independence. He quickly rose through the ranks, by 1994 he was the only ex-ZIPRA cadre to have rose to the rank of Major-General. Between October 1995 and April 1998 he became the head of United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) and subsequently MONUA (Mission d’Observation des Nations Unies à l’Angola) as the Force Commander charged with peace and national reconciliation.
Appointment as Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces
On the 18th of December 2017, he was appointed as the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. He succeeded the Retired General Constantino Chiwenga who had been in the position since 2004.
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