PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa says his sacking as Vice President by then President Robert Mugabe in November last year left him thinking of nothing but life in exile.
He said this during the weekend while contradicting his November vows he was to return shortly to push Mugabe out of his job.
Mnangagwa was fired by Mugabe for allegedly exhibiting “traits of disloyalty, disrespect, deceitfulness and unreliability” to his then boss.
His expulsion followed persistent accusations of plotting an anti-Mugabe coup by then First Lady Grace Mugabe.
When he got fired, it only took him few hours to skip the country through the Mozambican border while destined for South Africa amid claims Mugabe’s regime was out to “eliminate” him.
His exit from the country with no evidence of an immediate threat on his life was thought to be an attempt by the now State leader to set up a meeting with then Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander Constantino Chiwenga (now Vice President) away from the eyes of Mugabe’s feared state security apparatus. Chiwenga, a long time Mnangagwa ally, was also out on official duty in China.
There has, however, been no evidence the two ever met at the time although Mnangagwa told Zanu PF supporters on the day of his return to Zimbabwe in November that he was in “constant touch” with the military commanders who staged the coup.
Mnangagwa said it never crossed his mind that he would one day become President, a job for which he has dedicated painstaking effort to land, right from his time he was a cabinet minister linked to a Zanu PF faction fighting for party control.
“God has His own way of doing things, is it not true?” Mnangagwa said while addressing relatives, friends and members of the Zion Christian Church who had all gathered at Mnangagwa Farm in Masvingo for his nephew’s memorial service.
“The day I left the country as a border jumper I never knew I was going to come back and be the person I am today. I was pre-occupied with thinking about how I was going to live in exile as a border jumper, but God plans in His own ways and what God plans; no person has the little power to stop it.”
His comments contradict his November statement in which he defiantly vowed he was to return and become President.
Mnangagwa said then, “You (Mugabe) and your cohorts will, instead, leave Zanu PF by the will of the people and this, we will do in the coming few weeks as Zimbabweans in general now require new and progressive leadership that is not resident in the past and refuses to accept change.”
He added in his November statement, “As I leave this post (VP) for now, I encourage all loyal members of the party to remain in the party, to register to vote, as we will, very soon, control the levers of power in our beautiful party and country. Let not your hearts be troubled for peace, love, unity, development and prosperity are around the corner.
“I will be communicating with you soon and shall return to Zimbabwe to lead you.”
His words came to pass when the military rolled tanks into the streets and put Mugabe under house arrest, triggering a process that led to his eventual ouster.