Nduduzo Tshuma in Gwanda
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday recounted the day he was poisoned while attending a Zanu-PF rally in Gwanda last August.
Cde Mnangagwa who was then the Vice President, had to be airlifted to Gweru enroute to South Africa where doctors flushed out the poison and saved his life.
Addressing Zanu-PF supporters at Phelandaba Stadium in Gwanda, his first rally at the venue where he was dramatically airlifted after the poisoning incident and also his first at the venue as President and Zanu-PF First Secretary, Cde Mnangagwa said not a single person from Matabeleland South was involved in the attempt on his life.
The President told the thousands gathered at the Stadium that after the poisoning, he was so sick and only remembers leaving his seat from the high table accompanied by Vice President Kembo Mohadi, then Minister of State Security and the rest of the details of how he got to South Africa, he was later told. “I want to refer to what happened in August. I was seated where Mai (Mary) Chiwenga was seated so I told her that ‘danger,’ That was August 12 last year when I left here, I remember standing up, I was accompanied by Mohadi and others,” said President Mnangagwa.
The helicopter, on its way to Gweru flew over Phelandaba Stadium while former President Mr Robert Mugabe was addressing the 6th edition of the infamous “Presidential interface rallies” which were later unmasked as a platform for the the notorious G40 cabal fronted by former First Lady Mrs Grace Mugabe meant to discredit and push out from Zanu-PF cadres with liberation credentials including Cde Mnangagwa.
Undeterred by the poisoning incident, the G40 cabal upped the ante in its attack on the person of Cde Mnangagwa until the penultimate “interface” rally at White City Stadium when things took a dramatic twist setting a chain of events that led to the resignation of Mr Mugabe and the ushering in of a new dispensation led by Cde Mnangagwa.
“I don’t remember about the helicopter. I was told that the helicopter took us to Gweru, my wife told Chiwenga about what had happened and he came and took me to South Africa and I survived,” Cde Mnangagwa told the elated crowd.
“However, I want you to know that there is no single person from Matabeleland South who was involved in the matter.”
Earlier when he was introducing Cde Mnangagwa, VP Chiwenga paid tribute to the province for standing with President Mnangagwa heaping praises on South African based business man Mr Justice Maphosa for rescuing the President when he was fired and forced to flee the country following threats to his life.
“When the President became a border jumper last year, some of us were away but he was rescued by a son of Gwanda Justice Maphosa. So like the President said, you do not destroy but build,” said VP Chiwenga.
In his vote of thanks VP Kembo Mohadi said the people of Matabeleland South were a loving and rainbow community.
“We are happy that today you go back in good health and thank you for clearing the air that the people who caused your problems are not from here but those that you came here with,” said VP Mohadi to President Mnangagwa in reference to the poisoning incident.
In his welcome remarks, Zanu-PF provincial chairperson Cde Rabelani Choene said God had shown his power by protecting President Mnangagwa and saw him through the poisoning incident.
“This is the place where the enemy wanted to finish you yesterday but today I promise you that you won’t die, God is with you. This is your home, those who wanted to kill you, God has shown them that he has power,” said Cde Choene.
“As Matabeleland South, we are happy that you are here today after all the hardships you faced.”