A British highly respected newspaper, The Daily Mail, has reported that while the majority of Zimbabwe was celebrating President Mnangagwa’s inauguration on Friday last through into the weekend, the ousted President Robert Mugabe was battling for his life in a hospital facility amid claims that he could have suffered a stroke.
The cunning of the Crocodile, as Emmerson Mnangagwa is known, delivered the ultimate prize on Friday last week when he was sworn in as Zimbabwe’s new president.
The carefully choreographed ceremony at the national football stadium in Harare was the culmination of the quietly vicious ‘coup’ that toppled dictator Robert Mugabe after 37 years of unbroken rule.
The Crocodile’s supporters – having been advised to give ‘our president maximum support’ – duly obliged and packed the stadium in their thousands to cheer wildly. The applause was less enthusiastic when Mr Mnangagwa, urging people to let bygones be bygones, hailed the man he had forced out of power as the ‘father of the nation’.
Mr Mugabe, 93, had initially been reported as ‘too tired’ to attend, but was over the weekend in the fully equipped hospital at his palatial home amid fears that he may have suffered a mild stroke, the Daily Mail reported.
The new president pledged to serve ‘all citizens, regardless of colour, creed, religion, tribe or political affiliation’ and indicated that he plans to reverse Mr Mugabe’s ruinous policies.
He announced, for example, that farmers would be compensated for the land seized from them to be given to Mr Mugabe’s cronies – a process that destroyed the country’s agriculture industry and helped wreck the economy.
Only two weeks ago the despot had fired Mr Mnangagwa as his vice-president on the order of his wife Grace, who was plotting to succeed him. The Crocodile fled to Mozambique but, in a carefully stage-managed return, was back in the country within 48 hours of the military moving against Mugabe ten days ago.
The takeover has been described by some analysts as a ‘soft coup’ but it was nothing of the sort. At least seven of Mr Mugabe’s allies were killed when the military turned against him.
Those on a list to be detained included three prominent cabinet members, who were beaten and tortured before being released as part of the deal that forced Mr Mugabe to resign this week.
The finance minister Ignatius Chombo, who was caught with $10million (£7.5million) in cash as he tried to leave his home, was blindfolded, stripped naked and savagely beaten at a secret military detention centre.
Albert Ngulube, the head of the Central Intelligence Organisation, was also beaten and suffered a suspected fractured skull. Mrs Mugabe was taken from Blue Roof, the gaudy presidential mansion her husband had built at her insistence, and held in military custody.
The woman known as ‘Gucci Grace’ for her extravagant spending habits was verbally humiliated but not harmed. She was reunited with Mr Mugabe on Tuesday after he ‘volunteered’ to resign.