Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa Says Was in 'Constant Contact' With the Army 'Throughout', Thanks General Chiwenga On Return

23 November 2017

Incoming president Emmerson Mnangagwa who fled into exile after he was fired by then president Robert Mugabe says he was in constant contact with the Generals throughout the coup.

He said this as he was addressing supporters at the Zanu PF headquarters in Harare on Wednesday soon after his return.

Mnangagwa fled into exile two weeks ago fearing for his life a day after he was fired by Mugabe.

A few days after his departure, General Constantine Chiwenga returned from China to announce that the army was unhappy with the purging of Zanu PF liberation war stalwarts and threatened to "step in".

A day after that, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces staged a coup claiming that they were only after "criminals" that were around President Robert Mugabe.

Throughout out the episode up to Mnangagwa's return, many said they thought the army's actions were mainly about factional fights in the ruling party and particularly about the firing of the former vice president who had come under fire from the First Family.

On his return on Wednesday, a day after Mugabe was forced to resign, Mnangagwa said: "I was in constant contact with the service chiefs throughout. I wish also to thank the manner in which our defence forces and general Chiwenga have managed this process very peacefully."

The incoming president said he had spoken to heads of states including President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.

"They have hailed the discipline and the peacefulness of the people of Zimbabwe," he said.

"Today we are witnessing the beginning of a new unfolding democracy. The voice of the people is the voice of God," he added.

"The way you have managed this process makes SADC proud; not only on this continent, but the world."

Mnangagwa said he sent a letter to Mugabe which said the people have spoken and this was the time to comply.

According Mnangagwa, the speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, was under immense pressure from the powers that be, but he did his work.

"With great respect and humility and profound gratitude to my colleagues in the central committee in the manner in which they constitutionally processed the manner in which this was handled," he added.

"The people of Zimbabwe have refused. Orders were coming from people outside the executive. The G40 cabal had captured the executive... . Today I feel so humbled that you have remained here until this hour... Waiting for me," said Mnangagwa.

He went on, "On the 12th of August this year I was subjected to poisoning which resulted in my being airlifted to South Africa. I survived that poison.

Exactly 16 days ago I received a letter firing me from the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Within two hours I was informed about plans to eliminate me. This time around I said to myself I should not wait for them to eliminate me."

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