PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has revealed walking more than 30 kilometres crossing the boundary between Zimbabwe and eastern neighbour Mozambique in a dramatic escape from G40 assassins.
He was speaking in South Africa Thursday on his first foreign trip as president, after taking over power in Harare last month.
The then vice president was fired by former president Robert Mugabe from government and Zanu PF at the behest of the veteran leader's wife Grace and her G40 allies in the ruling party.
He then escaped into exile, saying assassins were on is trail but warning he would be back in two weeks to take over power.
In Pretoria Thursday, Mnangagwa told South African business leaders and Zimbabweans based there that he had been warned his life was in danger in the aftermath of his sacking from government as Mugabe's deputy on November 6th.
"I came here to pay homage to my brother President Jacob Zuma," he explained.
"I spent a good 16 days as a diasporan here in South Africa after walking some 30 kilometres crossing the border into Mozambique."
He added; "After I had been fired around 4 o'clock (on November 6th), intelligence had made me aware of the next move intended to eliminate me.
"Fortunately, I found a (business) card in my wallet which bore the name of a colleague here, Maphosa whom I phoned and he picked me. I came here and I was well looked after."
An angry Mugabe fired Mnangagwa from government after his wife had been booed at a youth interface rally in Bulawayo as the bitter Zanu PF succession struggle edged towards an explosive end.
The military then entered the fray, first with a damning statement from former Commander Defence Forces General Constantino Chiwenga on November 13th before tanks moved into Harare and Mugabe was placed under house arrest.
After a failed attempt at persuading Mugabe to resign, Zanu PF triggered an impeachment process but the 93-year-old former guerrilla leader then gave up, resigning as MPs introduced the motion in a joint sitting of Parliament.
Mnangagwa also revealed he had been in clandestine communication with President Zuma at the time the South African leader, who also serves as regional block SADC chairman, dispatched a ministerial delegation to Harare for talks with Mugabe to resolve the impasse.
"I had good communication with the leadership here, not openly, you understand," said a giggling Mnangagwa.
"Then my colleagues back home asked me to come join them in moulding our future. This is the young man; and I have banned him from putting on uniform anymore. I retired him a few days ago, General (Foreign Affairs minister Rtd Lieutenant General Sibusiso) Moyo," the President said.
Harare's rumour mill is, meanwhile, awash with speculation that Chiwenga will be appointed Vice President and Mnangagwa, Thursday hinted at the prospect.
"And also, General Chiwenga, I retired him two days ago and he will have another assignment very soon and we will proceed.
"We had our congress last Friday and I was confirmed as Zanu PF president. Within six months we will have elections which I hope to win," said Mnangagwa.