Mnangagwa is a tough nut

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President Mnangagwa

A lot of Zambians were amazed that Emmerson Mnangagwa could appear in public calmly discussing the assassination attempt on his life two hours after it happened.

Well, Zambians don’t know how tough some of these guys are. Emmerson Mnangagwa maybe a lawyer by profession and a politician for the last 38 years but they don’t know Emmerson Mnangagwa is actually one tough stone cold operator.

For instance, his name Crocodile comes from his being part of the notorious Crocodile gang. They were the first armed group to infiltrate Zimbabwe from Zambia in 1966 and set out attacking farms and lonely government outposts in the Makuti and Karoi areas of the then Rhodesia.

Emmerson Mnangagwa was captured in combat. He was caught after a gun battle and was sentenced to death for his part in some of the killings in the farming areas from Karoi northwards towards Chirundu.

However, Mnangagwa survived the hangman’s noose when he lied about his age and when a doctor examined him he determined to be under the age of 21 and therefore a juvenile. Mnangagwa was 24 at the time.

Even in the events leading up to his return as President of Zimbabwe. His escape from Zimbabwe sounds like something a fit young man would do. Something perhaps a commando or special agent would do. Not a 75 year old lawyer politician.

Emmerson Mnangagwa was tipped off in the middle of the night that Mugabe was either going to arrest him or kill him. He collected a briefcase full of dollars and drove off in his Mercedes with another man who looked like him either a relative or a body double bodyguard. His destination was the Mozambican border.

When the arrest squads arrived, Mnangagwa was long gone. Driving fast for the Mozambican border. 10 kilometres before the Mozambique border he jumped out of the Mercedes and started off for the Mozambique border on foot. He was going to cross the bush way.

When Zimbabwean security agents arrested the man they thought was Mnangagwa they wasted time interrogating him while Mnangagwa was steadily walking through the bush heading for Mozambique.

He eventually found his way across into Mozambique with soldiers and helicopters hunting for him and walked on for another 15 kilometres before he was stopped by a Mozambican police patrol.

He eventually found his way to a small Mozambican town where he bought a cell phone and loaded it with credit and phoned his son who was waiting for him in another town further on in Mozambique.

There he and his son phoned up a white Zimbabwean “Bush Pilot” who picked them up and flew them to South Africa. That briefcase full of dollars came in handy.

Now let me ask how many Zambian politicians can walk over 35 kilometres in the bush wearing a suit and office shoes and escape through a border being patrolled by soldiers looking for him ?

How many would Zambian politicians faced with such a scenario have had the speed of thought to think through such a daring escape ?

Now imagine a 75-year-old Zambian politician and ask yourself if any of them could pull off such an escape. ?

I am told one Zambian President on hearing that Stae House was surrounded and that the coup plotters knew all the escape routes out which he had foolishly revealed, hid under a bed and then had to be coaxed out and then began furiously praying and crying for his life.

Mnangagwa is much much tougher than that. Mnangagwa is tough like really tough. Being missed by a grenade is only the latest of a series of assassination attempts and yes I think it was real and yes he is tough enough to appear 2 hours after an assassination attempt.

He is not your potbellied, whisky and champagne swilling typical African politician. This is one really tough, ruthless guy with nerves of steel.

Sources: Zimbabwean guys. Remember the ones who allowed me to provide a live account of the Zimbabwe coup that knocked Mugabe’s off his seat? Same guys.

By Brian Mulenga


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