Harare - Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa in his ongoing chats with local and foreign media said he knows who allegedly poisoned him.
Mnangagwa, who came to power with assistance from the military in Zimbabwe last November, says he believes “friends” tried to kill him last August, but he did not name them.
He was airlifted by the military after he suddenly became ill at a rally for former president Robert Mugabe and was taken to hospital in South Africa for treatment.
He returned home and denied that it was ice cream from former first lady Grace Mugabe’s dairy which had caused his sudden ill health. Grace Mugabe runs a hi-tech dairy in Zimbabwe.
Mnangagwa also said in interviews last week that he wondered whether former president Robert Mugabe meant to fire him, implying the "old man" was not in full possession of his faculties.
After he was fired from his position as vice president early in November last year, Mnangagwa wrote a letter to Mugabe thanking him for all his help over more than 50 years and then escaped from those he believed would murder him. He walked across the border into Mozambique and later surfaced in South Africa.
When he returned home after the military took control of the country, Mnangagwa called Mugabe and, he told the Sunday Mail newspaper in Harare, the 93-year-old leader said to him: "I thought the very good letter which you wrote to me after your dismissal was going to be a good basis for us to reconnect . I want you to come back now-now so that we can resolve this situation together.”
But it was too late.
Mugabe was obliged to resign from office as parliament convened to begin impeachment procedures against him.
Mnangagwa also said that he believed Grace Mugabe was not mentally stable in the weeks before he was dismissed when she held several rallies and made a string of accusations against him. One of the most extraordinary was that Mnangagwa had been in league with Rhodesians after 1980 independence. He served 10 years in prison in Rhodesia for blowing up a train and was saved from execution because he was underage.
Grace Mugabe, who has not been seen in public since her husband quit, sent her luxury vehicles to South Africa late last week. She sent a top of the range Rolls Royce and a Porsche, and her eldest son Russell also took her Range Rover out of the country via a small border post, Plumtree, and into Botswana. There are unconfirmed reports that the vehicles were then damaged in a traffic accident in Botswana.
Grace Mugabe owns one of the most expensive properties in Johannesburg’s Sandhurst estate which she bought last year. She is accused by many of unexplained wealth after she bought several other top properties in Harare and occupies several more farms. She also built two schools on land taken from white farmers and there are not enough pupils to cover costs as many of the children abandoned the school late last year.
The informal orphanage she used to run nearby, and which is not authorised by the government's social services department, also housed only about a dozen children by last week.
Several top former Zanu PF personalities, all close to Grace Mugabe, are now on trial or under investigation for corruption.
Grace was forced to claim diplomatic immunity last year after she allegedly beat up a young Johannesburg woman in a Sandton hotel where her sons were partying. She had flown to South Africa from Zimbabwe to attend to them. Her immunity will be challenged in court later this year.
Independent Foreign Service