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


Q: But how is he now? He was in power for 37 years, and now . . . 

A: Just now he’s OK. Because when he came last week he sent me a summary of his medical report showing that . . . Just thanking me for having gone there, and then a small written report by Dr Matenga showing that he had a very successful and satisfactory medical check-up and he is back and he will be going back in April. This time when he goes back we will make sure he goes with a smaller plane as he asked.

Q: Will Mr Mugabe have amnesty for . . . If there are any judicial investigations into any abuses that may have happened under him? Is that . . . 

A: In terms of the Constitution, a sitting president is immune. But a retired president loses that immunity. But I don’t see any possibility of us taking to court or prosecuting him for anything. As far as I am concerned, as far as my administration is concerned, he’s our father figure, he’s our . . . The father of our . . . The founding father.

Q: The founding father of the nation.

A: The founding father of our nation. We will respect him; we want to keep that legacy. He is our icon, we’ll do everything in our power to keep him happy, to keep him secure, to keep him comfortable to the end.

A: In 1978, one of our members of the High Command in Zanla forces, Peter Baya, member of the High Command, died of liver cirrhosis. One day at night, our commander called us senior commanders and said, look, we are in this war not to die from drink. We must die from bullets and not from drink or landmines. So each one must take a vow to say perhaps for a week you don’t drink, another week you drink. Or a month you don’t drink and a month you drink. I chose to drink six months and abstain totally . . . No wine, no beer, no whisky, for six months. I took my oath that time. I’ve kept it up to today. From 1978 to date, yes, I’ve kept it up; never broken. This is my wet season. From July 1 to December 31 is six months. That’s my dry season. From January 1 to June 30 it’s my wet season.

Q: And does your family say . . . Is your character different in the different six months?

A: I think they are happier during the wet season.

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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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