Mnangagwa now back in Zim

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 exit.

“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 people.

“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 Mnangagwa.

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.

“ 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 revolutionaries”.

“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.

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