HARARE – President Robert Mugabe yesterday accused his longtime aide and former deputy — Emmerson Mnangagwa of consulting prophets to succeed him — claiming that when matters came to a head last week, he thought their long-standing relationship would save him from expulsion.
Mugabe was addressing Zanu PF youths who gathered at the party’s headquarters ahead of a politburo meeting which was expected to officially announce Mnangagwa’s expulsion from Zanu PF.
The 93-year-old seized the opportunity and attacked the former VP for being jealous at the crowds that attended the one million-man march in 2016.
“Some people think that when I stand close to the president, working with him for long even to an extent of making tea for me, they think that they are now untouchable (manje uno haanzwaro). I don’t sell the party with a cup of tea or a small cake.
“There are some people who thought since the sun is about to set, they can deviate from the norms. No, we do not tolerate that. It doesn’t matter you have been with the president for so long. It doesn’t matter whether you were invited by the president, you must follow the laws of the party,” Mugabe told the supporters.
“It is always wise to follow the right path because short-cuts are always dangerous. Short-cuts are dangerous because they can have lions, there is sickness and death. You need to use proper routes. The same applies with leadership. You cannot be a leader through short-cuts.
“We tried to keep it away from the public eye but on Saturday, all was laid bare and we had to act.
“The love of power led some people to go mad; the booing which was done was well-planned. People were ferried from Kwekwe using school buses to come and boo Amai (Grace) and cheer VaMnangagwa as a way of trying to portray him as popular,” added Mugabe.
The nonagenarian leader said Mnangagwa was telling people that he would retire soon.
“What led to the expulsion of Mnangagwa is a bit different to what led Mai Mujuru to be shown the exit.
“Mujuru, unlike Mnangagwa wanted to compete with the president. But Mnangagwa played the loyalty card yet scheming and aligning people for future take-over. He would mislead people and if what he told them does not come to fruition, he would conjure up other lies again.
“People were told that I will retire in March, but I did not. Upon realising that I wasn’t, he started to consult prophets on when I was going to die. At some point, he was told that he would die first before me,” said Mugabe.
“You cannot claim to be the greatest because you come from a particular province. We are one people.
“There were people who were now claiming they are the greatest. They are Karangas. No, we do not want that. We will throw them away. Some will mourn and say they lost their leader. Yes, you have lost your leader because he had become a deviant.
“We have kicked him out for the same reasons that saw us chasing away Mujuru. He even assisted us to force her out but we didn’t know he was assisting us so that he could do the same,” he added.
Until on Monday when Mugabe fired Mnangagwa, the two men had shared a very close relationship dating back to the days of the liberation struggle.
Mugabe first met Mnangagwa, 75, when he was working as a teacher in Mapanzure, a remote rural village in Zvishavane from where his deputy hails.
It is believed that the two’s relationship blossomed when Mugabe came back from Ghana where he was teaching to join the liberation struggle.
Towards the end of the liberation war, Mnangagwa who was studying in Zambia, was incorporated, at Mugabe’s behest, into Zanu PF structures as his special assistant.
The move was seen as a thank you to the Mnangagwa family who had acted as young Mugabe’s guardians when he was teaching in Zvishavane.
Mnangagwa, until his dismissal on Monday, had been with Mugabe for almost 54 years.