Source: ED flees into exile | Daily News
HARARE – Former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has fled into self-imposed exile — vowing to come back and dislodge President Robert Mugabe from power, and also angrily accusing the long-ruling Zimbabwean leader of destroying and running the country like his private property.
Mnangagwa, who was fired from his government post on Monday — confirmed in a scathing statement that he had gone into exile.
Sources told the Daily News last night that the former VP had fled the country on Tuesday night, after an earlier attempt to sneak into neighbouring Mozambique via Forbes Boarder Post was foiled by authorities earlier that day.
In his statement, in which he attacked Mugabe and his powerful wife Grace, Mnangagwa mockingly asserted that it was the First Family and their followers who would ultimately leave Zanu PF, not him — adding that he would soon be back in the country to lead Zimbabwe into prosperity and free long-suffering Zimbabweans from Mugabe’s alleged misrule.
“I would like my fellow citizens to know that I am now out of the country, and safe. My sudden departure was caused by incessant threats on my person, life and family by those who have attempted before through various forms of elimination, including poisoning,” Mnangagwa said.
The 75-year-old former long-serving aide to Mugabe was allegedly poisoned in August by his political enemies, with his loyalists in the now retreating Team Lacoste Zanu PF faction pointing fingers at rivals in the G40 camp, and consequently invoking the wrath of Mugabe and Grace.
Insiders told the Daily News that Mnangagwa, who is said to have “deep pockets”, had now set base in neighbouring South Africa — a country that has for long been closely monitoring the fast unravelling political situation in Zimbabwe.
An estimated three million Zimbabwean economic refugees, most of them staying there illegally, are eking a difficult living across the Limpopo River.
However, other sources claimed that the former VP was only using South Africa as a transit route, to a yet-to-be-disclosed final destination.
Among a litany of charges that Mnangagwa is facing are grave treason and corruption charges, with one of his main political foes — Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo — cryptically writing on micro-blogging platform Twitter yesterday that “In terms of truth and justice, the law has a long arm which can reach anyone, everywhere, any time. You can run but you can’t hide”.
Mnangagwa was the minister of Defence when the country exploited alluvial diamonds in the eastern region of Marange, and although the diamond find was worth billions, only a few million dollars trickled into the national purse — amid allegations of massive looting by those in the military and in government.
But the former VP alleged yesterday that the charges against him were merely a creation of his Zanu PF enemies in the G40 faction, who have been openly and gloatingly celebrating his demise over the past two days, including organising a “thank you” rally in the capital yesterday for his dismissal.
Mnangagwa also accused Mugabe of working with “undisciplined, egotistical and self-serving minnows who derive their power not from the people and party, but from only two individuals in the form of the first family who have now privatised and commercialised our beloved institution” — a surprising statement coming from a man who has been on Mugabe’s side for more than 50 years.
“Those who violate our party code of conduct because they think they have now out-grown Zanu PF are free to go and form their own parties. I will go nowhere.
“I will fight tooth and nail against those making a mockery against Zanu PF founding principles, ethos and values. You and your cohorts will instead leave Zanu PF by the will of the people and this we will do in the coming few weeks as Zimbabweans in general now require new and progressive leadership that is not resident in the past and refuses to accept change.
“My conscience obliges me to uphold the code of conduct of my beloved party and I refuse to be drawn into a public circus,” Mnangagwa said.
“It is sad and deplorable that you (Mugabe) have allowed our party to be hijacked by novices and external forces as well as individuals who have a proven record of treachery.
“This party is NOT PERSONAL PROPERTY for you and your wife to do as you please. Now that you have clearly told the world that I am your enemy who has taken in excess of 50 years to formulate a plan to dispose of you, I now urge all the genuine members of the party to determine for themselves who between the three of us including your wife and the notorious G40 boys is the enemy of the party, and who the real culprit is in destroying our beloved Zanu-PF,” he added.
The former Justice minister, whose moniker is Ngwena (crocodile) because of his alleged political ruthlessness, said he was ready to die for the Zimbabwean cause.
“I stand prepared, once again, to pay the ultimate price in defence of Zimbabwe. I am not afraid of anyone or worried about my political future under the current ‘Party Capture’ that is being tolerated and condoned by the first family,” he said further.
He also denied accusations by Mugabe that he was pursuing tribal politics, as well as Grace’s recent claims that he had for long harboured treasonous tendencies.
Mnangagwa said on the contrary, it was Grace who was explicitly tribal.
“Zanu PF is anchored on core values which promoted unity, peace and development regardless of ethnicity. I find it abhorrent and repulsive to separate the nation by region and province which is anathema to our founding principles.
“My emphasis is for the nation to unite to create peace and development. This particular accusation is nauseating when the first lady prefers to have the song Zezuru Unconquerable played and sung at rallies she has held many times over. Who is the tribalist here?
“I have been accused of committing treasonous acts dating back from 1980. This is not only fake but laughable and the president knows that. Why, why, the people are asking, did you keep this man for so long and not have tried him for treason all these years?” he asked rhetorically.
Mnangagwa’s statement comes as both political pundits and ordinary Zimbabweans were beginning to question his much-feared reputation of scheming and mounting fight-backs.
With the country hurtling towards crunch elections next year, the former VP also encouraged Zimbabweans to register to vote “as we will very soon control the levers of power in our beautiful party and country”.
“Let not your hearts be troubled for peace, love, unity, development and prosperity are around the corner. I will be communicating with you soon and shall return to Zimbabwe to lead you,” he said.
Mnangagwa, who was appointed vice president of Zanu PF and Zimbabwe in 2014, following the expulsion of Mujuru that year, had been under siege from the G40 over the past few months, who publicly humiliated him and also asked for his dismissal.
Mnangagwa was fired from government, in a decision which surprised many Zimbabweans who had erroneously believed that the former VP would be dumped after Zanu PF’s December extra-ordinary congress.