Who is Mnangagwa; The man after Mugabe’s heart
Mnangagwa is a lone HUNTER who plays cards close to his chest..like his boss
First Published in september 2016 at zimnews.net..The succession story is now one of the topical issues in the now faction ridden ZANU PF, what an intriguing war in the once formidable and intact party which was nucleated around one centre of power, the once respected, loved, and feared charismatic Robert Mugabe, the fights are now taking turns and twists with each passing day.
The issue of who will take over the throne after Mugabe has already claimed political lives for some members including former VP Joice Mujuru who was fired from the party for harbouring such dangerous (according to ZANU PF) ambitions among other tramped allegations.
The news, or rumour should we call it, recently attributed to an online publication that Vice President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is set to take over the country’s presidency in the not so distant future, made good reading.
Both Mugabe and his would be predecessor, Mnangagwa, share similar personal attributes when thrown in the deep end
I don’t usually play part in giving account of things, as it is a common thing in the trade that journalists should always distance themselves from the stories they tell, we are trained to let the people in the story do the talking, that much I know. However, as an investigative journalist, and a person who has been following the factional wars in ZANU PF with keen interest, particularly concerning Mnangagwa, the person being viewed by many as the possible heir to President Mugabe’s throne, I think I qualify to some extent to express on how I see it.
Looking from an analytical perspective, Mnangagwa is the only man in this current ZANU PF crop, who is after Mugabe’s heart. They both have similar or almost similar personal traits, being calm, humorous, shrewd, and calculative. Mugabe has a track record of keeping people guessing on his next move, only to brew a shocker at last. When expected to say something, he can remain silent and vice versa. One of the good example from many other examples is when people thought he was to appoint Simon Khaya Moyo for the VP post, he surprised everyone when he went on to appoint, Phelekezela Mphoko who most people didn’t know.
That move brought many into the speculation mill with some claiming him to be one of his top CIOs, the claim that Mphoko himself went on to deny.
Mugabe who is never known to have a close friend even during the war, except for a short stint with Edger Tekere who he crossed into Mozambique with, just like a leopard, is a lone hunter and so is Mnangagwa who also plays cards close to his chest.
However, some G40 members are on record for questioning his war credentials claiming that if Mnangagwa played a central part during the war, however he was certainly not at the top echelons of the military ranks, then.
They claim that he was always on the soft side of the war and not in the thick of things during the war.
Apparently, if this is anything to go by, then the same was also alleged about Mugabe. Aggripa Mutambara, a former top army official during the war, who is now a senior official at Zim PF claims that President Mugabe also avoided getting into the thick of things giving an example of his opting for teaching when he crossed into Mozambique during the liberation struggle and avoiding the war camps.
“After the fall from grace by Ndabaningi Sithole for having had rebelled, and when other deserving leaders were not around. People thought of Mugabe, but he was nowhere to be found in the camps, only to be roped in from a local school where he was a teacher,” he said.
To this however, ZANU PF argues that as a leader Mugabe need not to be necessarily involved in the direct combat in the bush, claiming that by directing from outside the pitch, he did well as a leader.
The above attributes has shown that both Mugabe and his would be predecessor, Mnangagwa share similar personal attributes when thrown in the deep end.
When Mnangagwa was recently under attack by some members of the now unsettled ruling part allegedly linked to the Generation 40 (G40), (Sarah Mahoka and Mandi Chimene) he remained collected, calm, dismissing them as barking dogs, proving that he had travelled same road before, getting hardened in the process, more so his toughened skin under attacks, wounded but with non of his bones broken, lion hearted man baked in the furnace.
I am made to believe that Mnangagwa’s aptitude date back from this political making, he was more of an intelligent and strategist in his approach during the war than he was combative. VP Mnangagwa could have gotten this acumen from his long working relationship with Mugabe and Josiah Tongogara who was also known to be a shrewd tactician.
Some historical accounts read that he joined politics and was recruited into the ZAPU by Willie Dzawanda Musarurwa at a very tender age in 1962. Went to China and later Egypt for military training in 1963. It is believed he was nicknamed ‘Ngwena’ a shona word for crocodile because of his style of sabotage activities against the colonial government and he is also believed to have been part of the Crocodile Gang that operated underground sabotaging the colonial government.
He was arrested and tortured in 1965 after he took part in the blowing up of a train in Fort Victoria (now Masvingo) he was handed a death sentence but escaped the gallows on a technicality that he was underage, and spent 10 years in prison.
When in danger, he remains collected, calm and still..a tough lion hearted man baked in the furnace
If anyone think Mugabe is cruel then so is Mnangagwa, having been appointed National Security Minister in 1980, Mnangagwa was in charge of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) that took part in the Gukurahundi massacres resulting in the deaths of an estimated 20 000 lives in Matabeleland Provinces.
ZANU PF’s Jorum Gumbo believes he is a soft person who many fail to understand as he once said this about Mnangagwa; “He rarely smiles, and he is misunderstood by many. If you spent time with him you will soon discover he is a down to earth person, very intelligent and humorous.”
On the lighter tone Mugabe is charismatic has great sense of humour, can easily bring people even his opponents to laughter, cracks jokes during speeches. One analyst had this to say; “Mugabe can make you laugh, If you spent an hour with him, you end up seeing him in a different light than before, you end up loving him.”
During the ZANU PF congress before his elevation Mnangagwa brought people to stitches with his humorous slogan ‘Pasi nemhandu-u-u, nemhandu-u-u, nemhandu-u-u’ translates to ‘Down with rebels’ this followed the fall of Joice Mujuru from favour. At least this is how I see it!