The man behind the smile

via The man behind the smile 17 December 2014

Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. Liberation war hero, lawyer, crown prince. Having watched Joice Mujuru’s heels for most of the succession race, Mnangagwa, who is widely believed to be Mugabe’s fixer, blew away his opponent, thanks to typical Zanu (PF) tricks of mudslinging, intimidation and general thuggery.

In most photographs, he flashes that familiar gap-toothed smile. His wife, Auxilia, recently called him ‘a soft man.’ ZTV showed him speaking at an institution for the mentally challenged. How else can you show your ‘soft side’ other than having photos taken with persons with disabilities! The Sunday Mail – obsequious as ever – eulogised him this week. They even refer to him by the pet name Ngwena, The Crocodile, a name which apparently followed him from the bush war to the Vice Presidential office.

But there are other pages in the story of Mnangagwa.

In the 1980s, over 20,000 civilians were slaughtered and over 60,000 women were raped, during a war between the Zimbabwe National Army and ex-Zipra insurgents. Unable to locate the elusive ‘dissidents’ the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade descended upon the Midlands and Matebeleland. A decade of bloodshed ensued. Civilians, who had no part in the conflict, were burned alive in their huts. Others were led away by security forces and were never seen or heard from ever again. The lucky ones – if you can call it ‘luck’ – who died a less painful death, were shot.

Who was responsible? The army, police, air force and the Central Intelligence Organisation which, at the time, was led by Emmerson Mnangagwa, who now smiles his crocodilian smile from Munhumutapa Building. As recently as 2011, Mnangagwa showed little remorse for the 20,000 lives lost during Gukurahundi which he trivialised. It was clear that Mnangagwa was aiming for this position when, after years of silence, he suddenly became the country’s opponent of the death penalty – a move that any monkey knows was intended to portray a brutal man as one with compassion for fellow humans.

In 2004, The Independent reported that Emmerson Mnangagwa was investigated by police, for illegal diamond deals in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The United Nations, which seldom makes frivolous allegations, was said to have implicated Mnangagwa and then head of Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Zvinavashe, in the alleged looting of mineral resources in the DRC.