PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has lampooned his predecessor, Robert Mugabe, saying old age was taking a toll on him, causing him to make conflicting and incoherent utterances.
Mnangagwa made the remarks in Rwanda early this week responding to delegates attending the extra-ordinary African Union summit, who wanted to know if he was not worried about Mugabe’s recent outbursts and claims by opposition MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa that the former President would back the opposition in this year’s general elections.
“He (Mugabe) is now 94 and he may not remember that he did not cast his vote for me if you ask him today,” Mnangagwa told his audience.
“He is our founding father and we will not bother about those things because we know if you ask him again, he will tell you ‘No, no, no! I will always vote ED (Mnangagwa).”
Mnangagwa said he was unfazed by reports that his former boss had promised to support an opposition party formed by remnants of the Zanu PF faction, known as G40.
Mugabe recently broke his silence since he was forced out of power in dramatic events in November last year, describing Mnangagwa as an illegal leader who needed his help to return the country to constitutionalism.
Mnangagwa swept to power last November on the back of a military intervention that forced Mugabe into resigning after a series of events that included an impeachment that was stopped mid-way.
In January this year, Mnangagwa claimed Mugabe had professed ignorance of his [Mnangagwa] sacking from government as the internal power struggle in Zanu PF threatened to tear the country apart.
Following his sacking, Mnangagwa slipped out of the country into South Africa “fearing for his life” and after taking over, he recounted a conversation with Mugabe on the phone while on a visit to Mozambique.
“So while I was in South Africa, the President (Mugabe) called me and said: ‘Emmerson. Where are you?’ ‘In South Africa’. What are you doing there? ‘You fired me . . . you fired me last week’. He said he was not aware he had fired me and I needed to come back home so we could resolve issues,” Mnangagwa said.
Mnangagwa last week hit back, telling Mugabe, “Zimbabwe has moved on” and the new government was focused on resuscitating the economy than politicking.