Emmerson Mnangagwa

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Emmerson Mnangagwa
Picture of Emmerson Mnangagwa
Emmerson Mnangagwa
Born Emmerson Mnangagwa
(1946-09-15) September 15, 1946 (age 69)
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) who was appointed as the country's Vice president in December 2014. He had been a cabinet Minister since Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980.


Mnangagwa was born on the 15th of September 1946 to mother Mhurai and father Mafidhi Mnangagwa.[2] 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 M.P for Chirumhanzu Zibagwe Parliamentary Seat Midlands Province. Auxillia is in fact his third life and the to have three children together namely Emmerson Junior, Collin and Sean. He also has other children, which include Emmerson Mnangagwa Junior Samora Samuel.[3]


It is said the the vice president received his early education at Lundi Primary School in the Mnangagwa Village.[4] He holds a Bachelor of Law form the University of Zambia (1974). He also studied at the Kafue Trade School and then at Hodgson Technical College.[5] Mnangagwa did his early education up to Standard 4 at Lundi Primary School in the Mnangagwa Village in Zvishavane.[6] He also studied Law at the university of London soon after independence.[3] 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 were he received his military training in 1963.[7] It a during his early day a a political activist hen he a nick named Ngwena due to his crocodile style in sabotage activities against the colonial government.[3] He is belived to have been part of the Crocodile Gang which carried out massive sabotage activities against the colonial govenment.


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 of hearing in one ear and also made him unconscious for days.[8]

As Central Intelligence Head

Mnangagwa was allegedly involved in the infamous Gukurahundi Massacres that took place in the 1980s. He allegedly 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 worked hand in glove with the army to suppress Zapu.[9] He was nicknamed the 'Crocodile' for his involvement.[10]

Violence Allegations

The violence, torture, murder that characterized the Mach 2008 Parliamentary and the 27 June Presidential election was attributed to him.[11] According to Independent human rights groups, 85 people have died and tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes, most of them opposition supporters during the run off election.[12] Tvangirai himself said 200 000 people were displaced and over 86 MDC supporters killed. He also said over 20 000 homes destroyed and over 10 000 people were injured in the violence.[13]

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 then was the architect behind thee alleged dealing.[14]

Bid to succeed Mugabe

In 2004, the ZANU PF provincial governors and chairmen endorsed Mnangagwa to become one of the two vice president and would be poised to succeed Mugabe. Eight of the provinces voted unanimously for this decree while three voted against it. The principles agreed which later became known as the Tsholotsho Declaration, was however dismissed by some ZANU PF members who wanted to retain the Zezuru ethnic monopoly of presidential power. The members then endorsed their own candidate Joice Mujuru.[15] This led to the formation of two factions in ZANU PF, one led by him and the other led by Mujuru. Some of his faction leaders includes Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Jonathan Moyo,Minister of Youth Development, Indigenization and Empowerment Francis Nhema and Lovemore Matuke.

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. Mnagagwa also served as acting Minister of Finance between 1995 and 1996, after which he was appointed Minister of Rural Housing from 2005 to 2009.[16] During the Government of National Unity from 2009 to 2013, he served as Minister of Defence.[17]

Road to Vice Presidency

Since 2004 after Mnangagwa lost the v ice presidency to Joice Mujuru, he had experienced varied relations with the p[resident Robert Mugabe. In 2007 during the talks between their party and the Movement for Democratic Change, Mnangagwa was alleged to have seriously quarreled with the president and this resulted in a rift growing between the two. Mnangagwa also helped Mugabe hold on to power during 2008 elections, which the opposition won in the first round, but which were in the second round boycotted because of widespread intimidation and violence.[18] The relations however quickly normalised and during the period towards the presidential elections in 2013, Mnangagwa was on the fore front of campaigning for the ZANU PF party.

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.[19] Chikanga is said to have committed several crimes ranging from armed robbery to fraud involving figures reaching up to usd 7 million.[20]

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.[21]

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.[22] 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.[22]

Appointment as Vice President

Mnangagwa was appointed as Vice President of Zimbabwe on 10 December 2014 after the Factionalism in Zanu-PF 2014 that saw the booting out of Joice Mujuru. Joice 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.[23]

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.

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.[23] 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.[23] 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.[23]

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, 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.[24]
Sarah Mahoka's Speech on 10 February 2016

Mnangagwa did not respond to the challenge and when later asked about his response by journalists, simply referred them to Mahoka.[25]

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

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”[26]
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  1. BLESSED MHLANGA, Mnangagwa’s son charged, Newsday, Published: 18 Feb 2016, Retrieved: 18 Feb 2016
  2. President Consoles Mnangagwa Family, The Zimbabwe Situation, Published: December 11, 2010, Retrieved:January 22, 2015
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 C. Manyuke, Profile Emmerson-Mnangagwa, "Chronicle", published:11 Dec 14,retrieved:11 Dec 14"
  4. Lance Guma Picture: Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mansion, Nehanda Radio, Published: July 10, 2013, Retrieved: January 22, 2015
  6. L. Guma, Picture: Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mansion, "Nehanda Radio", published:10 Jul 13,retrieved:11 Dec 14"
  7. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa
  8. Profile: Emmerson Mnangagwa
  9. Mnangagwa has Matabele blood on his hands
  10. Robert Mugabe strikes secret deal to hand Zimbabwe power to Emmerson Mnangagwa
  11. Profile: Emmerson Mnangagwa
  12. Tsvangirai withdraws from run-off
  13. Text: Morgan Tsvangirai's statement on presidential run-off
  14. J. Winter, Profile: Emmerson Mnangagwa, "BBC News", published:30 Mar 07,retrieved:11 Dec 14"
  15. Tsholotsho saga: the untold story
  16. Professional details
  17. Zim Cabinet anounced-See Full Cabinet List
  18. , Mnangagwa and Mphoko new VPs, Khaya Moyo demoted, "New Zimbabwe", published:10 Dec 2014,retrieved:11 Dec 2014"
  19. Zimbabwe: State Completes Probe Into Mnangagwa, Chikanga Case, allAfrica, Published: September 20, 2002, Retrieved: January 7, 2015
  20. Pedzisai Ruhanya Mnangagwa visited jailed armed robber, Daily News, Published: October 25, 2001, Retrieved: January 7, 2014
  21. T. Kamhungira, Mnangagwa sucked into $600 000 share dispute,Nehanda Radio, published:13 Jan 2015,retrieved:14 Jan 2015"
  22. 22.0 22.1 , Mnangagwa Slapped With Lawsuit Over Sickening Child Marriage,ZimEye, published:13 Jan 2015,retrieved:14 Jan 2015"
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 , VP Mnangagwa escapes poisoning, "ZBC", published:10 Dec 2014,retrieved:11 Dec 2014"
  24. Live Updates: Zanu PF politburo meeting, NewsDay, Published: 10 Feb 2016, Retrieved:10 Feb 2016
  25. Mnangagwa speaks on Mahoka attack , The Herald, Published:18 February 2016 , Retrieved:19 February 2016
  26. Alex Magaisa, Interview with “The Crocodile”: Insights from Mnangagwa’s recent interview , AlexMagaisa.com , Published:4 September 2015 , Retrieved: 19 February 2016