Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is a politician and member of the Zimbabwe Africa National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) currently serving as Minister of Justice. He had been a cabinet Minister since Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980.


Mnangagwa was born on the 15th of September 1964 in Zvishavane.


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.[1]

Political Career

He joined politics while he was only 12 years old 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.[2]


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 torutured in 1965 after he helped blow up a train near Fort Victoria (now Masvingo He spent the following ten years in prison. The s torture was so severe that he lost of hearing in one ear and also made him unconscious for days.[3]

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 Matebeleland and Manicaland provinces. which worked hand in glove with the army to suppress Zapu.[4]He was nicknamed the 'Crocodile' for his involvement.[5]

Violence Claims

The violence, torture, murder that characterized the Mach 2008 Parliamentary and the 27 June Presidential election was attributed to him.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8]

Bid to succed 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.[9]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

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.[10] During the Government of National Unity from 2009 to 2013, he served as Minister of Defence.[11]