VP Mnangagwa returns from exile to end Mugabe dynasty

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Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Dismissed Zimbabwe Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has returned to the country, a day after the military took charge of government and detained President Robert Mugabe as well as his wife, Grace.

Mnangagwa last week fled the country after vowing to topple Mugabe. He announced his return in a tweet.

“Zimbabweans stay calm & remain turned to national news. I’m back in the country & will be quite busy over the next few days. My communication with you will now be via formal broadcasting channels so I’m unlikely to use twitter handle. Thank you for the support & solidarity,” he tweeted.

He added: “We salute & applaud the bravely of our ZDF who decisively rejected desperate last minute concessions by an Executive was to create a family dynasty. An army led transitional phase will now pave way for a peaceful, free & fair democratic elections.”

The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) said last night, the first family was detained and are safe, both for the constitution and the sanity of the nation this was necessary.

“Neither Zimbabwe nor ZANU are owned by Mugabe and his wife.”

It said in the interim Comrade E Mnagngawa [Emmerson Mnangagwa the dismissed vice president] will be president of ZANU PF as per the constitution of the revolutionary organisation.

“There was no coup, only a bloodless transition which saw corrupt and crooked persons being arrested and an elderly man who had been taken advantage of by his wife being detained.”

Mugabe-Mnangagwa rift

Mugabe fired his long-time deputy on Monday last accusing him of disloyalty and deceit.

The following day, Mr Mnangagwa was reportedly blocked from leaving the country for Mozambique and on Wednesday he issued a statement denouncing his dismissal, amid indications he was now in South Africa.

“I would like my fellow citizens to know that I am out of the country, and safe,” Mnangagwa said. “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.”

The former VP further said the 93-year-old ruler and First Lady Grace Mugabe could not force him out of the ruling Zanu-PF, promising to return soon to lead Zimbabweans.

“I will fight tooth and nail against those making a mockery against Zanu-PF founding principles, ethos and values.”

The former Justice minister told his former boss that instead it will be him who will be forced to leave Zanu-PF.

“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,” he added.

Mnangagwa said President Mugabe and his wife must not be allowed to personalise the ruling party.

“Fellow Zimbabweans and specifically members of Zanu-PF, the time is now to say no to demi gods and people that are self-centred and only think of themselves and their families,” he said.

Mugabe and his wife had earlier held a meeting where they denounced Mnangagwa for allegedly plotting a coup.

Who is Mnangagwa?

Emmerson Mnangagwa is a politician and former vice president of Zimbabwe.

Mnangagwa, born September 15, 1946, is nicknamed “Ngwena,” or “The Crocodile.”

In 1963, soon after modern Zimbabwe’s ruling party ZANU-PF was formed, Mnangagwa was part of the first group of young party leaders sent to China for military training.

Upon his return, he earned his nickname by leading a group of fighters called the Crocodile Gang during the country’s war of independence against Rhodesia’s white-minority rule.

Mnangagwa’s gang blew up several trains. He was arrested in 1965 and sentenced to death. He escaped that fate because his lawyers successfully argued that he was under 21 and hence underage for the hangman’s noose.

But he was brutally tortured and spent 10 years in jail, where he met and befriended Robert Mugabe.

Mnangagwa was released after serving his sentence and deported to Zambia, where he studied law.

He kept in close contact with Mugabe and was elected special assistant to Mugabe in 1977, becoming head of
both the civil and military divisions of ZANU-PF.

After Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980 and Mugabe became prime minister, Mnangagwa was named the country’s first minister of national security.

Mugabe changed the constitution and became president in 1987. From 1988 to 2000, Mnangagwa served as minister of justice, legal and paramilitary affairs, leader of the House and in several other positions for short terms.

Parliament speaker

When Mnangagwa lost a parliamentary election in 2000, Mugabe appointed him to one of the unelected seats in parliament, and he was then elected speaker.

In 2008, he was credited with masterminding Mugabe’s presidential campaign. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the first round of the election. Hundreds of opposition supporters were killed in a campaign of violence blamed on the military and state security organizations.

Tsvangirai pulled out of the second round of elections. Mugabe was re-elected, and Mnangagwa became defense minister.

After Mugabe won another presidential term in 2013, Mnangagwa was appointed vice president.

On November 6, Mugabe fired Mnangagwa and accused him of plotting to take power, including through witchcraft. Mnangagwa fled the country, saying he and his family had been threatened.

Since then, more than 100 senior officials allegedly supporting him have been listed for disciplinary measures by a faction associated with Mugabe’s wife, Grace.

The firing was seen as a move to enable Grace Mugabe to eventually succeed her 93-year-old husband.

Source: Voice of America