President Emmerson Mnangagwa wrote to then President Robert Mugabe pledging his undying loyalty to him soon after his November dismissal as Vice President, when in fact seemed to have made up his mind to push the veteran leader out of his job, it has emerged.
Mnangagwa was fired by Mugabe for exhibiting "traits of disloyalty, disrespect, deceitfulness and unreliability".
This was a culmination on intense vilification against the country's new leader during provincial rallies Mugabe held with his followers ostensibly to interface with party youths.
In her spiteful speeches during the rallies, then First Lady Grace Mugabe repeatedly accused a cagey Mnangagwa of harbouring plans to topple her husband.
But a letter reproduced by State media weekend and attributed to Mnangagwa's private communication with Mugabe soon after his sacking suggests the former never took offence with his dismissal and infact went lyrical about how he adored his boss.
"Your Excellency, may I take this opportunity to thank you most sincerely for guiding me from the time you rescued us from Egypt in 1963 to the present," Mnangagwa said referring to the split from Zapu.
"Since then, I have regarded you as my mentor and father figure and have been loyal to you, the Party and the revolution."
Mnangagwa, in his letter, also expresses gratitude to Mugabe for the role he played from saving him from the gallows in 1965 under the former white colonial regime.
He goes on to thank Mugabe for appointing him into successive jobs like special assistant to the President when he had lost his father, security minister and many other posts.
"Your Excellency, the allegation that I once entertained an idea to form a political party is false and concocted by elements who are currently my enemies who perhaps may have intended to do so but never ever received any support from me," Mnangagwa said while curiously remaining silent on coup plot allegations that were even more prominent than the one about forming a political party.
He continues, "However, today, my enemies have prevailed. I could have recently lost my life through poisoning, but survived through God's grace.
"... I shall ever remain loyal and committed to you, my party and the revolution, although I aware of uncanny attempts by some unscrupulous elements to assassinate me," Mnangagwa concludes signing off as "your obedient comrade".
The sober and apologetic tone of the letter could have been a dummy aimed at hoodwinking Mugabe into the false belief he was still in charge and hence failing to put steps to prevent Mnangagwa from skipping the country and forestall what turned out to be his an almost instant removal from power.
Mnanagwa skipped the country to South Africa via Mozambique where he took pain to jump the border. He had been stopped by the State from crossing through the Forbes Border Post.
Soon after he was safe in South African territory, Mnangagwa completely changed tone, writing another statement in which he defiantly declared he was returning into the country to "take over".
What followed was a timid Mugabe who was placed under siege by the military and forced to resign over a slew of offences of both commission and omission.
On his return, during the millitary takeover, Mnangagwa told supporters in Harare that he had been "in touch with the army throughout!
Meanwhile, quoting unnamed sources, State media wrote that, charmed by Mnangagwa's vows of loyalty before his removal, Mugabe rang and tried to invite Mnangagwa back into the country to reinstate him as VP.
Mnangagwa turned down the offer.