The Renamo man had stuck a gun to Mnangagwa’s head hours after he crossed into Mozambique. The story of his intriguing escape from the clutches of former president Robert Mugabe, who he had been close to for 40 years, was given by Mnangagwa’s oldest son, Emmerson, to the UK’s Sunday Times last week.
Mnangagwa was targeted last year by former first lady Grace Mugabe, who had political ambitions and also wanted to ensure her husband was the ruling party’s candidate in elections due in July or August. Emmerson Mnangagwa jr, 33, said his father had previously been poisoned at a rally when he ate ice cream allegedly produced by Grace’s dairy. He was flown by the military for treatment in South Africa.
But on his return, under threat, Mnangagwa denied that he was poisoned. He was sacked in October by Mugabe after a crowd at a rally booed Grace in Bulawayo. She and her husband had publicly humiliated Mnangagwa at several rallies.
Mnangagwa’s son said in his interview that he and his siblings believed their father would be arrested or killed if he remained in the country after he was sacked. “People were phoning to say: ‘they’re coming to arrest you and will put you in a police station and poison or hang you, and make it look like a suicide’. So my brothers and I told him it’s not safe for you to be here.