Fungi Kwaramba 17 November 2017
HARARE – Former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who left the country in
a huff following his expulsion from the ruling party and government a
fortnight ago, is now back in the country.
Affectionately known as “Ngwena” or “The Crocodile”, Mnangagwa went into
self-imposed exile after falling out with the incumbent, President Robert
Mugabe – his boss of more than 55 years.
But following the military’s seizure of power, unconfirmed reports suggest
that the former vice president returned to his homeland yesterday evening
to pick up the pieces.
According to impeccable sources, the 75-year-old politician is likely to
be a key figure in the country’s transition from Mugabe’s octopus-like
grip on power.
He is said to be cooling his feet at one of the army barracks, most likely
at Manyame Air Base, on the outskirts of the capital city, where he could
be directing negotiations for a power-transfer deal between his former
boss and the military.
“The vice president is back and is at a military barrack, remember he
promised that he will be back in a few weeks and true to his word he is
now back,” a source told the Daily News.
Military experts say Mnangagwa could be lurking in the wings, ready to
make his first public appearance since he skipped the borders.
With the military, which has always been close to him since the liberation
war days in the 1970s, now fully in charge of Zimbabwe’s affairs, the
threats to Mnangagwa’s life that forced him to go into exile, have
significantly been reduced.
To start with, Mugabe is now under house arrest, while most of his rivals
in the Generation 40 faction are either on the run or in detention.
According to Alex Magaisa, an expert on Zimbabwe based in the United
Kingdom, Mnangagwa’s return will be triumphant, after his unceremonious
“In the immediate term, it will be a glorious return for Mnangagwa after
what seemed to be an ignominious exit. After what seemed to be the end of
a long career, he is now on course to fulfil his destiny and lead
Zimbabwe,” said Magaisa.
“He was for so long the proverbial water-carrier for Mugabe. Now though he
will have the liberty to choose his own water-carriers. Yet they too must
know that like Mugabe, they have created a monster that could haunt them
in future,” said Magaisa.
Once considered the one to take over from the increasingly frail Mugabe,
Mnangagwa’s end was inglorious after he had fallen out of favour with the
incumbent’s wife, Grace, who also harboured presidential ambitions.
Riding on the coattails of her husband who has ruled the country for the
past 37 years, Grace’s ascendancy in the top echelons of Zanu PF has been
swift, and she was actually billed to be Mnangagwa’s replacement after all
Zanu PF provincial structures endorsed her.
In his hard hitting press statement issued from exile, Mnangagwa dared
Mugabe and his wife saying the country cannot be held hostage by two
“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,” said Mnangagwa.
“Those who violate our arty 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,” said
With a relationship spanning over five decades, Mnangagwa said in the
statement that he has no reason to turn against Mugabe, the man who he
fondly took as his own father.
“….it is sad and deplorable that you 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 50years 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,” said Mnangagwa.
He 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
privatized and commercialized our beloved institution,” a shocking
revelation from a man who has been on Mugabe’s side for over 50 years.
Mnangagwa was in August allegedly poisoned by his political rivals and his
loyalists in the Team Lacoste faction pointed fingers at the first family,
consequently invoking the wrath of Mugabe and his wife.
Army commander Constantino Chiwenga also seemingly backed Mnangagwa’s
statement when he said the army, “which are stockholders” in Zanu PF after
having participated in the liberation struggle, would flush out “counter
“Therefore, the current shenanigans by people who do not share the same
liberation history of Zanu PF are not a surprise to us. But, what is
significant to us and the generality of Zimbabweans is to remember that
all these rebellions were defused by the military, but at no point did the
military usurp power. We must remind those behind the current treacherous
shenanigans that when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution,
the military wil not hesitate to step in,” said Chiwenga.