Emmerson Mnangagwa

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Emmerson Mnangagwa
Picture of Emmerson Mnangagwa
Emmerson Mnangagwa
Born Emmerson Mnangagwa
(1946-09-15) September 15, 1946 (age 70)
Midlands, Zimbabwe
Residence Harare, Zimbabwe.
  • Vice President of Zimbabwe
  • Minister of Justice
  • Secretary for Legal Affairs in ZANU PF
  • Politician
  • Member of Parliament
Years active 1962–present
Religion Christianity
Spouse(s) Auxilia Mnangagwa
Children Emmerson Mnangagwa Junior, Collin, Sean, Chido Emma, Farai Celine, Justine Mhurai, Samora Samuel [1]
Qualifications Bachelor of Laws, University of Zambia

Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is a politician and member of the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF). He was appointed as the country's Vice president in December 2014. He had been a cabinet Minister since Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980. He is also the Minister of Justice for Zimbabwe.[2]


Mnangagwa was born on the 15th of September 1946 to mother Mhurai and father Mafidhi Mnangagwa.[3] He was born in a family of 6 in colonial Rhodesia in present day Zvishavane in the Midlands province of Zimbabwe. He is married to Auxilia Mnangagwa who is currently a M.P for Chirumhanzu Zibagwe Parliamentary Seat Midlands Province. Auxillia is in fact his third wife and together they have three children namely Emmerson Junior, Collin and Sean. He also has other children, which include Emmerson Mnangagwa Junior Samora Samuel.[4]


It is said that the vice president learnt at Lundi Primary School for his early education in the Mnangagwa Village.[5] He holds a Bachelor of Law from the University of Zambia (1974). He also studied at the Kafue Trade School and then at Hodgson Technical College.[6] Mnangagwa did his early education up to Standard 4 at Lundi Primary School in the Mnangagwa Village in Zvishavane.[7] He also studied Law at the university of London soon after independence.[4] He also attended the Beijing school of ideology run by the Chinese communist party.

Political career

He joined politics while at a very tender age after being recruited into the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) by Willie Musarurwa in 1962. He then went to China and later Egypt where he received his military training in 1963.[8] During his early days as a political activist he was nick-named "Ngwena" due to his crocodile style in sabotage activities against the colonial government.[4] He is believed to have been part of the Crocodile Gang which carried out massive sabotage activities against the colonial government.


When he came back from China, he directed the liberation struggle against the Ian Smith regime. He fell victim of the regime's brutality when he was arrested and tortured in 1965 after he helped blow up a train near Fort Victoria (now Masvingo) He was initially given a death sentence but eventually spent the following ten years in prison. The torture was so severe that he lost the sense of hearing in one ear and also made him unconscious for days.[9]

As Central Intelligence Head

Mnangagwa is believed to be allegedly involved in the infamous Gukurahundi Massacres that took place in the 1980s. He worked hand in hand with the army to suppress Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) then led by Joshua Nkomo.Having been appointed National Security Minister in 1980, Mnangagwa was in charge of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) that took part in the massacres resulting in the deaths of an estimated 20 000 lives in Matabeleland and Manicaland Province which functioned hand in glove with the army to suppress Zapu.[10] He was nicknamed the 'Crocodile' for his involvement.[11]

Violence Allegations

The violence, torture and murder that characterized the March 2008 Parliamentary and the 27th of June Presidential election was attributed to him.[12] According to the Independent human rights groups, 85 people died and tens of thousands were displaced from their homes, most of them were opposition supporters during the run off election.[13] Tsvangirai himself said 200 000 people were displaced and over 86 MDC supporters killed. He also said over 20 000 homes were destroyed and over 10 000 people were injured in the violence.[14]

The DRC Saga

Mnangagwa was fingered out by the United Nations in 2001 as the architect behind ZANU PF's illicit dealings in the Democratic Republic of Congo.These deals had to do with the Zimbabwe National Army and other unnamed businessmen from both countries. There is widespread speculation that the top brass in the party got access to the DRC's mineral wealth due to Zimbabwe's taking part in the war. It was Mnangagwa who was the minister of defence at that time and he architected behind the alleged dealing.[15]

Bid to succeed Mugabe

In 2004, in what became known as the Tsholotsho Declaration, a group led by six Zanu PF provincial chairmen, some members of the politburo, central committee, MPs, veterans of the war of liberation met at Dinyane Secondary School in Tsholotsho where an agreement was allegedly struck to install Emmerson Mnangagwa in the presidium following the death of Simon Muzenda.[16]

Under the scheme, Mnangagwa would assume the vice-presidency and eventually the leadership of Zanu PF and the country. The meeting was held ahead of a key Zanu PF congress in 2004. Although Mnangagwa had secured the support of six of the country’s 10 provinces, he was undone by Mugabe’s move to amend the party’s constitution to ensure that one of the party’s vice-presidents was a woman. The decision saw Joice Mujuru being appointed vice-president.[17].

Following the failure of the succession plot, participants in the declaration were suspended from the party with the exception of Mnangagwa who was appointed Minister of Rural Housing and Social Amenities, a position considered to be of low significance[18]

Appointment as Vice President

10 years later, on 10 December 2014, Mnangagwa was eventually appointed as Vice President of Zimbabwe after the Factionalism in Zanu-PF 2014 that saw the ouster of Joice Mujuru from Zanu-PF. Mujuru was fired from the presidium by President Robert Mugabe due to her alleged abuse of office and incompetence. Mnangagwa's appointment followed the much publicised ZANU PF 6th National People's Conference held from 2 December in Harare.[19]

Mnangagwa was appointed as both second secretary of the ZANU PF party as well as state vice president of the country. He was appointed together with Phelekezela Mphoko representing the ZAPU (Zimbabwe African People's Union) wing as part of the Unity Accord agreement. Mnangagwa's appointment came after years of speculation on who would land the seat after the death of John Nkomo. Most analysts predicted Mnangagwa would land the post due to his unquestioned loyalty to president Robert Mugabe. There was also speculation that the decline of the Mujuru led faction and the relegation of Joice Mujuru left Mnangagwa with considerable support both in the politburo as well as in the central committee. It is generally believed that Mnangagwa enjoyed popular support from ZANU PF vanguards such as the Secretary of the Women's League and first lady Grace Mugabe, Jonathan Moyo, Oppah Muchinguri, Obert Mpofu and Christopher Mutsvangwa.

Factionalism and the 2016 Succession Race

In early 2016, the race to succeed Robert Mugabe got intense and Mnangagwa was increasingly accused in the press for having too much ambition to succeed Robert Mugabe as president of Zimbabwe. Leading the assault on the supposed intention by Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe was Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere who were later joined by the First Lady, Grace Mugabe in February. Sarah Mahoka, the Zanu PF Mashonaland West Women’s League chairperson, was also very vocal against Mnangagwa's supposed ambitions. Moyo, Kasukuwere and Grace Mugabe were believed to be part of a faction called G40 which was said to be working to block Mnangagwa in favour of Grace Mugabe for succession.

Mnangagwa's own supposed faction, Lacoste was also believed to be actively working to ensure he would succeed Mugabe. Key persons leading this effort were reported to be George Charamba, the presidential spokesperson, Christopher Mutsvangwa, leader of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, Caesar Zvayi, The editor of the largest daily newspaper in the country, the state owned Herald.

On 10 February, at a Harare event organised by the Women's League ahead of a Politburo meeting on the same day, Sarah Mahoka publicly challenged Mnangagwa to declare his position in the succession race and to speak on the the verbal abuse that his supporters were making on the country's First Lady and leader of the Women's League, Grace Mugabe:

We will not brook any nonsense particularly people denigrating our leader as women. We are being used and we are not fighting the leadership even if you choose a person we hate we will accept. Herald is lying. We have not said anyone must be fired. People must {not} play with your name Emmerson Mnangagwa and you keep quiet. You must stop it!. Do not act like a duck, speak against it, abuse of your name. There is no problem with you VP Mphoko, We are violated in your name. We are not saying Mnangagwa must be removed but his people are speaking. I am ready to die for the party and Mugabe. You will die because of this.[20]
Sarah Mahoka's Speech on 10 February 2016

Mnangagwa did not respond to the challenge and when later asked about his response by journalists, he simply referred them to Mahoka.[21]

Mnangagwa has characteristically been silent with only George Charamba, Mutsvangwa and the Herald leading the campaign for the Lacoste faction.

Publicly accused of factionalism

In July 2016, at a rally organised by a group of war veterans to show support to President Robert Mugabe and attended by the president, the first lady and both vice presidents. Mandi Chimene gave a speech during which she accused the Mnangagwa of leading a faction:

They started way back when we heard of Tsholotsho….we have nurtured it..it’s now here again, if people are smart they create something that looks like his . The person who created Lacoste also created G40…I know of Lacoste and the leader. I’m accused of being a G40 member but I don’t know my leader.

What was known as Tsholotsho was led by Cde Mnangagwa, this Lacoste is now led by Cde Mnangagwa..as you seat there you are now two Governments because some ministers are known to be supporters of Cde Mnangagwa[22]

Mnangagwa did not respond to the accusations, remaining silent as he looked on

Mnangagwa Dissociates From Lacoste Faction

In late July 2016 After accusations of him being the leader of the Lacoste faction of the ZANU PF. He only replied to the allegations saying
he is not concerned by those who "bark" endlessly and that instead their "barking" gives him more energy.
His explanation was,
“A lot of things have been said about me. But I did not respond because that is not how we do things in ZANU PF. Leaders do not wash dirty linen in public. There are platforms for that like central committee and politburo that is why I did not respond and kept quiet. However, President Mugabe exhorted leaders to respond when they are accused, to refuse false allegations so that people know the truth,”said Mnangagwa.
The Crisis which was escalading out of control and could result in the loss of his job and in his speech he wanted to clarify direct emphasis that although oppositon rival factions such as G40 are trying to exploit him due to their own agenda's, He also went through the struggle alongside Mugabe and he cannot betray his "Father and Principal Mentor."
”I don’t know what their aim is or who is sending them but they cannot just wake up and start spreading these falsehoods. There is someone behind them. But the truth shall come out." said the VP
Mnangagwa’s message is directed at both Mugabe and his detractors in the succession battle. To Mugabe, he is saying we have come a long way. I have trusted and protected you in my role in security. I am loyal and I cannot betray you now.[23]

Positions Held and success

At independence, Mnangagwa was appointed Minister of State for Security, a position he held until 1988. He was then appointed Minister of Justice from 1988 to 2000 before he was made Speaker of Parliament from 2000 to 2005. Mnangagwa also served as acting Minister of Finance between 1995 and 1996, after which he was appointed Minister of Rural Housing from 2005 to 2009.[24] During the Government of National Unity from 2009 to 2013, he served as Minister of Defence.[25]

Press Allegations

There were allegations that were made in the press to the effect that vice president Mnangagwa had unlawfully facilitated the release of George Tanyanyiwa Chikanga in 2000. This was said to have taken place while the vice president was still the minister of Legal and Parliamentary affairs.[26] Chikanga is said to have committed several crimes ranging from armed robbery to fraud involving figures reaching up to usd 7 million.[27]

Share Dispute Allegations

Mnangagwa and his son Emmerson Jnr have been sucked into a $600 000 shares dispute between two Harare businessmen Brian Jembere and Paris Olympios. The local media reported that Jembere bought $600 000 worth of shares in Olympios’ H.E.R (Private) Limited company. Mnangagwa’s wife reportedly operates a salon at H.E.R premises, which is located at number 18311 Chiremba Road in Hillside in Harare. It is strongly believed that Olympios is closely linked to Mnangagwa and is now using the Zimbabwe Republic Police to abuse the country’s criminal justice system.[28]

Lawsuit on Child Marriages

In his capacity as Acting president and Minister of Justice, Mnangagwa was faced with a lawsuit over cases of child marriages where girls as young as 13years old who were allegedly forced into marriages. The challenge to Child Marriage was meant to be heard in the Constitutional Court on Wednesday 14 January in 2015 and in the firing line is top barrister Tendai Biti.[29] Biti was representing a group of activists who wanted to know why child marriages to continued despite a new constitutional ban put into effect in 2013. Biti was specifically be representing two clients namely Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi.[29]


Attempted Poisoning

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Televison reported that there was an attempted poisoning on the new vice president. Unknown assailants are believed to have sprinkled the deadly cyanide poison in Mnangagwa’s office at the new government complex in Harare.[19] It was also reported that Mnangagwa was lucky to survive after the his secretary was the first one to enter into office. She was seriously affected by the poison and she was rushed to a local hospital where she was treated.[19] President Robert Mugabe broke the news on 10 December 2014 while announcing the new look Zanu PF Politburo, which saw Mnangagwa replace former Vice President Joice Mujuru as Robert Mugabe’s deputy.[19]

Ngwena (Crocodile) Nickname

Mnangagwa is commonly referred to by his nickname Ngwena, Shona for Crocodile. The name apparently comes from his involvement with the Crocodile Gang, an elite group of guerilla fighters during Zimbabwe's war of independence from white race minority rule. Mnangagwa has said about the nickname::
“You know the trait of a crocodile, don’t you? It never hunts outside water. It always goes into the water to catch its prey. It never goes in the villages or in the bush looking for food. It strikes at the appropriate time. So a good guerrilla leader strikes at the appropriate time. That’s the import of the nicknames we give each other”[30]

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  1. BLESSED MHLANGA, Mnangagwa’s son charged, Newsday, Published: 18 Feb 2016, Retrieved: 18 Feb 2016
  2. [1],    , Published: 22 March 2016, Retrieved: 27 July 2016
  3. President Consoles Mnangagwa Family, The Zimbabwe Situation, Published: December 11, 2010, Retrieved:January 22, 2015
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 C. Manyuke, Profile Emmerson-Mnangagwa, "Chronicle", published:11 Dec 14,retrieved:11 Dec 14"
  5. Lance Guma Picture: Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mansion, Nehanda Radio, Published: July 10, 2013, Retrieved: January 22, 2015
  7. L. Guma, Picture: Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mansion, "Nehanda Radio", published:10 Jul 13,retrieved:11 Dec 14"
  8. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa
  9. Profile: Emmerson Mnangagwa
  10. Mnangagwa has Matabele blood on his hands
  11. Robert Mugabe strikes secret deal to hand Zimbabwe power to Emmerson Mnangagwa
  12. Profile: Emmerson Mnangagwa
  13. Tsvangirai withdraws from run-off
  14. Text: Morgan Tsvangirai's statement on presidential run-off
  15. J. Winter, Profile: Emmerson Mnangagwa, "BBC News", published:30 Mar 07,retrieved:11 Dec 14"
  16. Zanu PF exorcises Tsholotsho ghost, NewsDay, published: September 9, 2013, retrieved: Aug 1, 2016
  17. Gumbo comes to Mujuru’s defence, attacks Herald, New Zimbabwe, published: October 31, 2014, retrieved: Aug 1,2016
  18. Alex Magaisa, The Year Of The Crocodile, Alex Magaisa, published: December 10, 2014, retrieved: Aug 1, 2016
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 , VP Mnangagwa escapes poisoning, "ZBC", published:10 Dec 2014,retrieved:11 Dec 2014"
  20. Live Updates: Zanu PF politburo meeting, NewsDay, Published: 10 Feb 2016, Retrieved:10 Feb 2016
  21. Mnangagwa speaks on Mahoka attack , The Herald, Published:18 February 2016 , Retrieved:19 February 2016
  22. Felex Share and Costa Mano, LIVE BLOG: PRESIDENT MUGABE MEETS WAR VETERANS, The Herald, Published:27 July 2016, Retrieved: 28 July 2016
  23. [2],    , Published:2016/08/01 , Retrieved: 2 Aug 2016
  24. Professional details
  25. Zim Cabinet anounced-See Full Cabinet List
  26. Zimbabwe: State Completes Probe Into Mnangagwa, Chikanga Case, allAfrica, Published: September 20, 2002, Retrieved: January 7, 2015
  27. Pedzisai Ruhanya Mnangagwa visited jailed armed robber, Daily News, Published: October 25, 2001, Retrieved: January 7, 2014
  28. T. Kamhungira, Mnangagwa sucked into $600 000 share dispute,Nehanda Radio, published:13 Jan 2015,retrieved:14 Jan 2015"
  29. 29.0 29.1 , Mnangagwa Slapped With Lawsuit Over Sickening Child Marriage,ZimEye, published:13 Jan 2015,retrieved:14 Jan 2015"
  30. Alex Magaisa, Interview with “The Crocodile”: Insights from Mnangagwa’s recent interview , AlexMagaisa.com , Published:4 September 2015 , Retrieved: 19 February 2016