THE plot thickened around suspected attempts on Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s life after the embattled Zanu PF number two was flown to South African hospitals over weekend amid “food poisoning” claims by party rivals.
Mnangagwa was Saturday taken ill during President Robert Mugabe’s youth interface rally in Gwanda.
He was conspicuous by his absence during the country’s Heroes Day commemorations presided over by the Zimbabwean leader on Monday afternoon.
President Mugabe confirmed that his deputy was in Johannesburg for treatment, heightening concerns around his condition.
“He is not back yet from hospital in Johannesburg,” Mugabe said during his speech at the national Heroes Acre. He did not give details.
Mnangagwa is under fire for allegedly displaying unbridled ambition to succeed his long-serving boss.
President’s Mugabe’s one-time right-hand-man has been a dead man walking after the veteran leader’s wife Grace started relentlessly making sensational claims during party rallies the VP harboured a plot to dethrone her husband.
Mnangagwa’s allies – backed by military chiefs as has been confirmed by the Zimbabwean leader – have not helped matters either after they appeared to openly back the vice president.
Mnangagwa fanatics within the vocal mainstream war veterans group want Mugabe to step down and hand over to the Midlands strongman.
This has incensed the First Family which has typically responded harshly to open challenge at a time Mugabe still wants to continue as leader despite struggling with old age. He turned 93 this February.
The VP has been a constant target of attack during party rallies with Grace leading the assail.
His backers within government circles have also been harangued in public in the most open signs the First Family was not taking his manoeuvres any lighter.
The Zanu PF soap opera climaxed this past week when a video of fierce rival Jonathan Moyo elaborately outlining Mnangagwa’s alleged plot to oust the President during a politburo meeting went viral.
Things came to a head weekend when Mnangagwa, seen moments earlier by television viewers chanting pro-Mugabe and Grace slogans, was reportedly taken ill and whisked away on a military helicopter while allegedly vomiting profusely.
Both government and Zanu PF officials have chosen to be cautious over the issue.
Asked to comment on the VP’s condition, Information Deputy Minister Thokozile Mathuthu weekend said, “It’s nothing to do with the public, it’s a personal issue”.
“If someone has a flu and is not feeling well, why should the government issue a statement?
“It has got nothing to do with the government, you should talk to the Vice-President himself,” Mathuthu told local media.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo also professed ignorance around the development, adding that no one had briefed him about the vice president’s condition.