December 10, 2014 — Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was then Vice-President-designate, survived an assassination attempt after unknown criminals broke into his Zanu-PF offices the previous night and laced his desk with cyanide.
The poisonous powder affected the VP-designate’s secretary, Mrs Catherine Magaya. The incident was first revealed by former President Robert Mugabe at Zanu-PF’s extraordinary session of the Central Committee on December 14.
August 11, 2017 — Then Vice-President Mnangagwa was airlifted from a Zanu-PF Youth Interface Rally at Phelandaba Stadium, Gwanda, after he started feeling dizzy and vomiting. He was first airlifted to Gweru en-route to South Africa for life-saving treatment.
In an interview with the Financial Times in Harare on January 16 this year, President Mnangagwa indicated that he knew who had poisoned him.
“I suspect. I suspect as to who did it. They are still good friends of mine. I now suspect that they now know that I know,” he said when asked whether he knows who had poisoned him.
“It was called a hard metal arsenic toxin. Arsenic toxin, something like that. That’s the class of poison. And it’s not easy to come with it. They say it’s colourless, it is tasteless and the areas where it could be found are possibly two. Three initially, professors in that area eliminated this one, and it was left with two countries. Russia and Israel. So it’s possible it came from Russia,” he said.
After being fired as Vice-President on November 6, 2017, President Mnangagwa says he was informed by impeccable security sources that a plan had been hatched to eliminate him. He had to make the hard decision to skip the country.
It is believed that the scheme involved either shooting him at his home and covering it up as a shoot-out or arresting him and eliminating him while in custody under the guise that he had committed suicide.
While on a visit to Luanda, Angola, on January 12 this year, President Mnangagwa narrated his ordeal.
“I was fired at 4pm and left the office and by 6.30 pm, one of the security guys came to inform me that he must be part of a group that had a mission to eliminate me. I didn’t think it was pleasurable to wait to be eliminated. I left within four hours of being fired for the Mozambican border. I arrived at the border and our side of the border stamped my passport, but before they could lift the boom for me to cross into Mozambique, it was closed. The message came that I was not allowed to leave Zimbabwe. I said in that case there was no need, I (will) go back. They said again I was not allowed to go back into Zimbabwe but I said you can’t stop me. What case have I committed? As I was walking away, they tried to fire (at me) but I have one young man, one of my twin sons, was there. He is an officer and was able to grab the weapon and I was not shot,” he said.
*There has also been a worrying trend of break-ins at President Mnangagwa’s offices.
While he was Justice Minister, there were four reported break-ins at his offices at the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. One incident was reported at Defence House when he was Defence Minister.