Tendai Mugabe, Harare Bureau
VICE PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa, who suddenly fell sick during the Zanu-PF Presidential Youth Interface rally in Gwanda in August, confirmed that though his doctors had ruled out food poisoning, he was indeed poisoned.
Addressing journalists last night to dispel assertions made by his counterpart Cde Phelekezela Mphoko on Tuesday that he had publicly declared during a memorial service for the late heroine Cde Shuvai Mahofa in Gutu on Saturday that he had been poisoned in Gwanda, VP Mnangagwa said he never said he was poisoned in Gwanda, but that he fell sick in Gwanda.
While reiterating that he never consumed ice cream from Gushungo Dairy before his sudden illness, VP Mnangagwa noted that those peddling such falsehoods were bent on creating a wedge between him and the First Family who own the dairy.
During the memorial service, the VP drew comparisons between his illness and that of Cde Mahofa who fell sick during the Zanu-PF conference in Victoria Falls in 2015.
Just as what had happened to the late heroine who was hospitalised in the country before being airlifted to South Africa, VP Mnangagwa had similarly been first checked in at a local hospital before being transferred to South Africa for treatment.
“It is indeed factual that I fell ill in Gwanda and was airlifted to Gweru then to Harare before subsequently being airlifted to South Africa,” he said.
“I never said that I was poisoned in Gwanda but that I fell ill in Gwanda. Equally, the late national heroine Cde Shuvai Ben Mahofa fell ill during the 15th National People’s Conference of Zanu-PF held in Victoria Falls in 2015. She was taken to hospital in Zimbabwe and subsequently to South Africa. Therein is the extent of the similarities of events which I alluded to during my address.
“During the briefing with His Excellency, the President, Cde R.G Mugabe, the medical doctors who attended to me ruled out food poisoning but confirmed that indeed poisoning had occurred and that investigations were still in progress. They however established that poisoning had indeed occurred and investigations were in progress.”
VP Mnangagwa said he informed the Zanu-PF Politburo and Central Committee at their meetings of September 6 and 7 respectively that he was not food poisoned, but did not rule out poisoning.
Commenting on VP Mphoko’s statement, which he described as subjective, VP Mnangagwa said: “It is most disappointing that a person at the level of my colleague Vice President, Cde R.P Mphoko would misunderstand and misrepresent the statements made by His Excellency, the President Cde R.G Mugabe and myself.
“It is thus disturbing that my colleague Vice President of the Republic, and Second Secretary of the party, Cde R.P Mphoko who is a trained cadre and veteran of the liberation struggle, would issue a statement which goes against the spirit and grain of the national Constitution founding values and principles and which is further alien to the revolutionary ethos, culture and decorum of our party Zanu-PF,” said the VP.
“It is further disconcerting that the statement is littered with subjective falsehoods, mischievous perceptions and malicious innuendoes written in a language and tone which is disrespectful and contemptuous to my person and indeed to the office I occupy, that of Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and the party Zanu-PF. The statement is bent on causing alarm, disunity and despondency among peace-loving Zimbabweans and the intimated agenda in the statement may exist in the mind of the author.
“I have an impeccable history of unflinching loyalty to the party and His Excellency, the President, Cde R.G Mugabe and have never acted in a manner that undermines his authority or the stability of Zimbabwe.”
VP Mnangagwa said his commitment to unity, peace and stability was undoubted and unquestionable as enshrined in the national Constitution Amendment (No 20) Act 2013, Chapter 1, section 3(2) (h) which obligates the fostering of national unity, peace and stability, with due regard to diversity of language, customary practices and traditions.
In his statement issued in reference to a ZBC news article on Tuesday this week when he was Acting President while President Mugabe was on official business in South Africa, Cde Mphoko said: “Contrary to his (VP Mnangagwa’s) statement, his medical doctor, while briefing President Robert Mugabe in the presence of VP Mnangagwa, confirmed that Vice President Mnangagwa was not poisoned. At the Gweru Presidential Youth Interface Rally, President Mugabe revealed that three days earlier, he had met with Mnangagwa’s medical doctor in the presence of Mnangagwa and that the doctor, who has been attending to Mnangagwa for 20 years, told the President that his long standing patient had not been food poisoned.”