ICYMI- Transcript of Mnangagwa’s 15-page interview with the Financial Times


A: There was this group called the G40 group, led by the former First Lady . . . using the former First Lady as their means to achieve their objectives. But the man who was an obstacle to their agenda was myself. I was the most senior person after Mugabe in the party and I had so much support and popular among the people, and they knew they couldn’t achieve what they wanted to achieve with me in the party and with me on my feet. So, this is what happened. Then they mooted an agenda of rallies. One thing emerged very clearly: that the only two people who would address the rallies, that is the First Lady first, the former First Lady, and then the president. The First Lady began just attacking me from nowhere: that my body language shows that I’m ambitious, the way I dance . . . At the Gwanda rally, I was taken ill.

A: Then I was airlifted to South Africa, where it has been proved that I had been poisoned.

Q: Did the doctors work out what the poison was?

A: Yes; they say 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 round with it. They say it is 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. They were surprised that I survived because then you’ve heart attack, what they called cardiac arrest. Then the verdict of death would be death by cardiac arrest. So they kept me, you know, washing this out, I had something like 28 one side, you know, what do they call these sachets? In one side. And then the other side to wash the stuff out. So last week . . . This was in August. Last week I went there. They have now declared that I am now OK. It’s not visible anymore. The poison was testable, but not totally clear. But it means it’s not testable. That’s what they said. So maybe I’m the same club with you.

Q: Have the police worked out what happened? Is there an investigation?

A: Maybe doctors did. It could be food poisoning. There nine categories of food poisoning. All the nine were negative. Which means the poisoning was not food poisoning. Then the second category is three categories. That is from your urine, from your blood, from your tissues. They took those again, and the type of poisons which they could identify, it was all negative. So what was left are these . . . What they say, hard metal poisons. Which, then, they had to seek external expertise to identify. So after about two months, six weeks or thereabouts, they were able to identify the type of metal.

Q: Do you know who did it?

A: 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. They now know that I know.

A: After the First Lady castigates me (at a rally), I shake her hand. I said thank you very much. She becomes even more annoyed. Then the next day there was a rally. I didn’t go to that one but I listened. So, I was being castigated there as a snake. And to deal with this snake you must crush the head. And this snake is Mnangagwa, we must crush the head, not beat the tail or the body. She went berserk on that one. At that stage now I believed she was not mentally OK. Then the next day I was fired at about four o’clock. I got a letter. In the terms of section so and so, you are fired with immediate effect.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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