HARARE – President Mnangagwa has defied death on three separate occasions in his life, including a notorious poisoning incident in Gwanda six years ago and narrowly escaping the death penalty due to a technicality before Independence.
During his 81st birthday celebration at State House on Friday night, the President recounted the challenges he has faced throughout his life, crediting his resilience to the grace of God. The First Lady, Dr. Auxillia Mnangagwa, and members of the First Family organized the dinner.
President Mnangagwa revealed that the most recent attempt on his life occurred in 2017 when he was poisoned in Gwanda, Matebeleland South province, during a Zanu-PF rally while he was still Vice President. He survived thanks to a swift airlift to Harare and subsequent evacuation to South Africa while he was unconscious.
Reflecting on his life, President Mnangagwa shared his journey, marked by hardships and sacrifice. He recounted his involvement with UNIP in Zambia in 1959 and his recruitment to the party by Zimbabwean nationalists. His experiences included arson, expulsion from school, and later involvement with ZAPU and meetings with figures like Herbert Chitepo and Robert Mugabe in Tanzania.
He continued his story, describing his time in Egypt for military training and the subsequent imprisonment of himself and 13 colleagues for supporting Zimbabwean nationalists, who were considered “rebels” after a split in the liberation movement around 1963.
Throughout his address, President Mnangagwa emphasized his survival, being the only survivor among the 13 cadres he operated with. He discussed the challenges of imprisonment and the support he received from Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga during the 2017 poisoning incident.
President Mnangagwa also shared the story of how he adopted the name “Emmerson” while at school, without informing his parents, after reading it in a library book.
The celebration featured Vice-President Dr. Constantino Chiwenga expressing well-wishes for President Mnangagwa and his leadership in achieving Vision 2030. Vice-President Kembo Mohadi described the President as an inspiration.
The grand event drew attendees from various sectors, including members of the President’s family, the Presidium, traditional chiefs, politicians, diplomats, and the clergy. Guests enjoyed a mix of sumptuous Western and traditional dishes known for their nutritional and medicinal value.
First Lady Dr. Auxillia Mnangagwa highlighted that the celebration was organized by her children in honor of their father, and she emphasized the role of women in building peaceful and drug-free family environments. Dr. Mnangagwa also encouraged people to embrace traditional dishes for their nutritional benefits.
Note: The original text was quite lengthy, and this summary captures the key points of the President’s speech and the event.
Source – The Sunday News