While pledging allegiance to President Robert Mugabe as Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces, Constantino Chiwenga told a press conference that some counter-revolutionaries were bent on reversing the gains of the liberation struggle and making Zimbabwe a neo-colonial state.
As Mr Mugabe has systematically dismissed veterans of the liberation struggle from party posts, the top echelons of Zanu-PF are now stacked with officials who did not fight in the independence war.
President Robert Mugabe's famous "blue house" or "blue roof" has been sealed off by heavily armed military personnel, Khuluma Afrika has confirmed.
ZANU-PF said Chiwenga's stance was "clearly calculated to disturb national peace. and suggests treasonable conduct on his part as this was meant to incite insurrection".
Neither the president nor his wife has responded to the general's remarks but a strong denunciation from the ruling party youth wing on Tuesday signalled that Grace Mugabe's supporters were prepared to defend her. Several tanks were seen moving near the Zimbabwean capital Harare on November 14, 2017.
A Reuters witness saw two other tanks parked beside the main road from Harare to Chinhoyi, about 20 km from the city.
Speculation has been rife in Harare that Mugabe could seek to remove Chiwenga, who is seen as an ally of ousted Mnangagwa.More news: 'Short and fat': Trump's North Korea bluster during Asia trip
Zimbabwe was plunged into crisis when Mr Mugabe sacked Mr Mnangagwa, a 75-year-old veteran of Zimbabwe's liberation wars, last week.
He fled the country and is thought to be in South Africa after issuing a searing five-page condemnation of Grace's ambition and Mugabe's leadership.
The development comes amid rising tensions between the military and a faction in the ruling Zanu-PF party which appears to have the support of President Mugabe and his influential wife, Grace.
"Chiwenga threw down the gauntlet to Mugabe.it would make sense for Chiwenga to organise some military manoeuvres to up the ante".
Mnangagwa was subsequently fired from the party and has since left the country.
"The current purging. targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith".
Grace Mugabe - 41 years younger than her husband - has become increasingly active in public life in what many say is a process to help her eventually take the top job.