ED must clear the air on poisoning claims

HARARE - The atmosphere in the ruling Zanu PF party, and in the country at large, has become poisoned with suspicions following Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s alleged poisoning, while in Gwanda, about four weeks ago.

Government alleges that he ate “stale food” but this is being disputed by Mnangagwa’s family and close allies, who are adamant that the politician’s foes wanted to kill him in order to destroy his prospects of succeeding President Robert Mugabe.

In the midst of all this, the rumour mill is feeding on speculation, with various conspiracy theories flying around.

It has been alleged that Mnangagwa ate ice cream from Alpha & Omega Dairy — owned by the First Family. Mugabe has not hidden his unhappiness over this, telling mourners at the double burial of Moudy Muzenda and George Rutanhire on Saturday how Zanu PF is being destroyed by beliefs in witchcraft and ideological bankruptcy.

Another of the theories being bandied around has been that Mnangagwa ate packaged lunch laced with poison aboard a helicopter that flew him to Gwanda. The conspiracies go beyond these, none of which help build a united country in which citizens live in love, peace and harmony.

Last week, the police told the Daily News that they were yet to receive a report on the incident for them to start investigations.

In the meantime, Mnangagwa, who is the best person to set the record straight by virtue of being the alleged victim of the poisoning attempt, has not been categorical about these claims. And yet he had private consultations with his doctors here, in Zimbabwe, and in South Africa where results of various medical tests conducted on him were revealed.

Mnangagwa has also appeared in public on more than two occasions, but was coy on these issues perhaps alive to the fact that the incident has gained him public sympathies in the wake of vicious attacks on him by rivals in the Generation 40 faction, which is determined to derail his presidential ambitions.

At some point, Mnangagwa’s son, Emmerson Junior, had indicated that the vice president’s office would issue a statement but there are no indications that such a report would ever be issued.

It is unheard of that an attempt can be made on the person of a whole vice president of a republic while the State machinery remains quiet.

While this could be benefiting a few individuals whose political stock could be rising, as a result, the question to ask is: At what cost to the nation whose levels of polarisation now stinks to high heaven?

Because several people have been sucked into this saga, it is only Mnangagwa himself who knows the truth and he must therefore share that truth with the nation in order to clear the air.

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