President Emmerson Mnangagwa has released details about his family that seem to suggest that he had children with First Lady Auxillia when he was still married to his first wife, Jayne, who died in 2002.
Mnangagwa, who became president in November after a soft military coup triggered by his sacking from Zanu PF and government, married his first wife Jayne Matarise in September 1973, according to the Head of State’s website launched yesterday.
During this time, Jayne was living with her first cousin Josiah Magama Tongogara, the former supreme military commander of Zanu, the liberation movement that waged a bitter liberation struggle that ushered in independence in 1980.
Tongogara was killed in a mysterious car crash in Mozambique, six days after the Lancaster Agreement was signed.
Jayne’s mother and Tongogara’s mother were sisters.
She died on January 31, 2002 after a long battle with cervical cancer.
The couple was blessed with six children, Farai, Tasiwa, Vimbayi, Tapiwa, Tariro and Emmerson (junior) Tanaka, according to the website.
While the website seems to claim that Mnangagwa married Auxillia after the death of Jayne, it does not state when Mnangagwa married her.
It is, however, unlikely that it was after Jayne’s passing because they had their first child 18 years before Jayne’s death.
Mnangagwa and Auxillia have been blessed with three children, according to the portal, namely Emmerson (junior), Sean and Collins.
Going for instance by the age of Emmerson Junior — he was born on December 20, 1984 — which means that Mnangagwa started his relationship with Auxillia while still married to Jayne.
It is unclear if Jayne was aware of his relationship with Auxillia.
Mnangagwa and Auxillia’s first son, Emmerson Jnr, started studying for his degree in Australia in 2004, two years after his step-mum’s death, majoring in business finance and marketing but was subsequently deported in 2007 due to pressure from the opposition.
After completing his studies, he tied the knot with Leya (nee Travis) at a ceremony attended by the country’s business and political elites.
The president’s portal describes him as “a father and family man, ED Mnangagwa is dedicated to the education of his family, and has educated all of his children without exception”.
“Most are now employed or run their own businesses and are independent of their father, with degrees ranging from diplomacy, business studies, marketing, law, sound engineering, nursing, creative advertising design, psychology and actuarial science. He has more than a dozen grandchildren and he is very close to all of them.
“He is known as a unifier in the immediate and extended family, a humble man with a keen sense of humour, he always has time for the children. He is dedicated to his family and to the wider family that is his country, Zimbabwe.”
Mnangagwa’s first wife was born in Shurugwi, the fifth child in a family of eight boys and two girls.
Emmerson and Jayne had their first child, Farai in 1976 just when the final phase of the armed liberation struggle was gathering momentum, according to the publicly availed information.
In 1977, the couple was blessed with their second daughter Tasiwa.
Emmerson soon took up his post in Mozambique as the special assistant to the president, while Jayne remained in Zambia taking care of the budding family.
She later joined him in Mozambique with the two young children.
After independence, Jayne continued to look after the family, choosing to support her husband’s political and public life by focusing on running the family farm, and her own business right up to her death, according to information gleaned from the portal.
She was known for her “dignified reserve and her devotion to her husband and children,” according to the portal, featuring beautiful colour palettes and brilliant layout and typography.
Zimbabwe’s new first lady, Auxillia, is a politician in her own right, as well as a trained State security operative and member of Zanu PF’s central committee.
She holds an MBA from Midlands State University and is currently pursuing a PhD. Her predecessor, Grace Mugabe, is currently mired in a storm over a dodgy PhD she was awarded by the University of Zimbabwe.
Until the enthronement of her husband, she had lived quietly but not in seclusion, working hard for her Chirumanzu-Zibagwe constituency, a seat left vacant by her husband after he was appointed vice president.
Before she became first lady, she spent a lot of time in her constituency, where she launched a women’s bank and several other empowerment projects to help the community.
As first lady since November 24, 2017, Auxillia has possessed a mysterious authority, which has compelled people to do her bidding.
The soft-spoken and seemingly intelligent first lady, who seems to have a knack for attention, attracted overwhelming support from the corporate sector and charismatic churches when she launched last month her foundation, Angel of Hope, to support cancer patients and bring awareness to the need to combat cervical cancer.
United Family International Church leader Emmanuel Makandiwa hogged headlines after he donated $300 000 to the first lady’s foundation.
It was not made clear by the first lady if this foundation was mooted in honour of Jayne, who died of cervical cancer.
Auxillia told the eighth leg of her national cancer awareness campaign in Marondera last month that men must “be content with their wives and desist from extra-marital affairs that force women to resort to using herbs on their privates to lure their husbands back”.
She has spent many hours visiting rural folk, the sick in hospitals, indigent children, the elderly, and the emotionally and physically handicapped. These people seem to interest her as first lady, with her philanthropic work largely hailed as “commendable”.
But critics have said it seems she is being thrust upon Zimbabweans for a national narrative that seems to be a reversal of the post-2014 Grace Mugabe image.