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Mnangagwa says I am not a crocodile, I am Shumba

Q: Did they contact you before making the statement?

A: No, there was no contact at that stage; there was nothing. Then later there was another statement by the chief of staff, general . . . The first one was made by CDF, commander defence forces Chiwenga. Then the second . . . I think on the second day or so I saw another statement by chief of staff, major general . . . At the time he was a Major General SB Moyo. Then talks began. You should know better; some talks began. Now, I was seeing this from outside so the sequence may not be very accurate. Talks began, negotiations conducted . . . There was this guy from the Roman Catholic Church, Father Mukonori; he was the intermediary between the military and the First Family. When the party began to institute impeachment proceedings, I think the President realised that this was not a joke and if they proceed he would be stripped of all the powers and perhaps even be arrested. At that stage I also phoned the president from South Africa. Then the president said, Emmerson, chef, he said where are you? I said I was in South Africa. Why are you in South Africa? I said, but you fired me. You’re forgetting you fired me. Come, come, come. I said, no, it’s my security there. He says, no. I want you here at State House because I want to resolve these issues with you here. So I realised the old man was not clear of what was happening. Perhaps he’d even forgotten that he had fired me. So I said no, I couldn’t come. But he was imploring me to come back and join him in the State House to resolve these issues. The following day he stepped down. Then I was contacted by both General Chiwenga and SB Moyo. Both contacted me and we discussed, they said, come. Oh no, no, I said no, I cannot come immediately. I have to pay my respects to the people who have kept me for the last 14, 15 days in South Africa.

Q: Do you still speak to him? When did you last speak to him?

A: Just before he left for Singapore we chatted. Before he left for Singapore. He said he wanted to go Singapore, I said, Sir, you’re most welcome. I will give every facilitation for you to proceed to Singapore. Then that was that. Then the list of people going to Singapore came to me. There were 38. A delegation of 38. So I phoned back and said, chef . . . That’s what we call each other. Boss, you’re going for a medical check-up; why do you want 38 people? Then he says, Emmerson, I don’t know that list. No one even told me. I never told you? Yes, OK. He says, I don’t know that there are 38 people. I know it’s myself, my wife, and my family. And we are hardly 10. I don’t know where the other 30 . . . I said no, I have a list here of 36 plus yourself and the wife will be 38. So I can’t just approve 38 people just for you for a medical check-up; no. You know the new dispensation, I mean, we are trying . . . I have cut down the cabinet. It’s a leaner cabinet. And I’m also saying no minister travels first-class and so on. So I’m cutting expenses and that can’t be understood if you are going to go for medical check up with a big number. He says, Emmerson . . . He never says Mr. President, he just calls me . . . Just said Emmerson. Emmerson, send me that list. So I called the protocol people. Then they sent the list to him and they reduced the number down to 21. He says I can’t reduce any further; this is the number. That’s the number that then went. With him, it became 22, but the others were 21. He was then the 22. Then he went . . . But when he went in a 767 it carried these 22 people also to Singapore. Then when I was told I said no, this is not good. If the press hears that we’ve taken the former president on this huge plane, it’s extravagant and so on. And it was published that it cost $6m. So we then said we must look for a smaller plane to go and pick him back when he finishes. Fortunately when he was there, he then phoned back but he didn’t talk to me; he talked to my directors. He said, you see, it’s very absurd that the president allowed me to come with a 676 when we’re so small delegation. Can you look for a smaller plane to pick me back? This is him. So the message arrived. So I gave instructions to the minister of transport and my officials. Somehow, the communication didn’t reach Air Zimbabwe on time. Then they sent again the 767.

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