Philip Valerio Sibanda

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Philip Valerio Sibanda
Gen. Sibanda ZDF Commander
Commander - Zimbabwe Defence Force Commander
Assumed office
December 18, 2017
PresidentEmmerson Mnangagwa
Preceded byGeneral Constantino Chiwenga
Personal details
Born (1954-12-24) December 24, 1954 (age 69)
Spouse(s)Mercy Mugove Sibanda
OccupationMilitary Official
ProfessionSoldier, Military Commander

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.


General Philip Valerio Sibanda is from Midlands and attended his secondary education at Marist Brothers Dete Secondary School.


Valerio Sibanda was born on 24 December 1954.[1]

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 18 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.

On 18 December, it was announced that General Constantino Chiwenga is to leave the ‘army’ (the Zimbabwe Defence Forces), and awaits deployment to a new position.
General Philip Valerio Sibanda is to leave as commander of the [[Zimbabwe National Army[[ and will replace Chiwenga as commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri's, retirement was also announced. [2]

Car Accident

A court heard that Phillip Valerio Sibanda was nearly killed in an accident when a motorist rammed into his motorcade on 23 August 2021. Sinoia Desmond appeared before magistrate Barbara Mateko on 25 August 2021 and pleaded guilty to a charge of negligent driving. Magistrate Mateko remanded him in custody for sentencing to 26 August 2021.

The State said at around 1650hours on 23 August 2021, Desmond failed to give way along the Glenara Avenue intersection and hit a vehicle that had General Valerio Sibanda and his aide, Squadron leader Mark Pride Mangwende on board. Sibanda's car was being driven by his aide Madhlenkosi Mpofu when the accident happened. Sinoia said he saw a give way sign at the end of the service road which required him to stop if traffic was approaching along Glenara Avenue and so he reduced his speed. But he failed to see Valerio Sibanda's convoy resulting in him ramming the same side of the general’s car where he was seated.

Prosecutor Caroline Mutimusakwa asked for Desmond to be handed a sentence that would deter would-be road offenders. [3][4]

ZANU PF Politburo

On 28 October 2023, President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed General Sibanda to the ZANU PF Politburo as an ex-officio member. President Mnangagwa announced the appointment while giving his closing remarks at the 20th ZANU PF Annual National People’s Conference held at the Midlands Convention Centre in Gweru.[5]


Gen. Phillip V. Sibanda on ZTN


  1. zw-government-gazette-dated-2013-12-20-no-91.pdf,, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: August 26, 2021
  2. Zimbabwe General Who Ousted Mugabe To Quit Army, Business Focus, Published: 19 December 2017, Retrieved: 12 December 2019
  3. Nyore Madzianike, Man in court over Gen Sibanda traffic accident, The Herald, Published: August 26, 2021, Retrieved: August 26, 2021
  4. DESMOND CHINGARANDE, General Sibanda escapes death in an accident, NewsDay, Published: August 26, 2021, Retrieved: August 26, 2021
  5. Army chief lands Politburo post, The Sunday Mail, Published: 29 October 2023, Retrieved: 06 November 2023

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