|3rd President of Zimbabwe|
|Assumed office |
24 November 2017
|Vice President||Constantine Chiwenga|
|Preceded by||Robert Mugabe|
|President and First Secretary of ZANU-PF|
|Assumed office |
19 November 2017
|Preceded by||Robert Mugabe|
|First Vice President of Zimbabwe|
12 December 2014 – 6 November 2017
|Preceded by||Joice Mujuru|
|Succeeded by||Constantino Chiwenga|
|2nd Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of Zimbabwe|
11 September 2013 – 9 October 2017
|Preceded by||Patrick Chinamasa|
|Succeeded by||Happyton Bonyongwe|
31 December 1989 – 1 July 2000
|Preceded by||Edison Zvobgo|
|Succeeded by||Patrick Chinamasa|
|6th Minister of Defence|
13 February 2009 – 11 September 2013
|Preceded by||Sydney Sekeramayi|
|Succeeded by||Sydney Sekeramayi|
|Minister of Rural Housing and Social Amenities|
9 April 2005 – 13 February 2009
|Deputy||Biggie Joel Matiza|
|Succeeded by||Fidelis Mhashu|
|4th Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe|
18 July 2000 – 9 April 2005
|Preceded by||Cyril Ndebele|
|Succeeded by||John Nkomo|
|1st Minister of State for National Security|
|Prime Minister||Robert Mugabe|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Sydney Sekeramayi|
|Member of the National Assembly of Zimbabwe|
|Succeeded by||Auxillia Mnangagwa|
Kwekwe East (1985–1990)
Appointed seat (2000–2008)
15 September 1942
Shabani, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)
|Political party||United National Independence Party (1959–1962)|
Zimbabwe African People's Union (1962–1963)
Zimbabwe African National Union (1963–1987)
(m. 1973; died 2002)
|Education||University of London (LLB)|
University of Zambia
Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa (IPA: [m̩.na.ˈᵑɡa.ɡwa], US: (listen); born 15 September 1942) is a Zimbabwean revolutionist and politician who has served as President of Zimbabwe since 24 November 2017. A member of ZANU–PF and a longtime ally of former President Robert Mugabe, he held a series of cabinet portfolios and was Mugabe's Vice President until November 2017, when he was dismissed before coming to power in a coup d'état. He secured his first full term as president in the disputed 2018 general election.
Mnangagwa was born in 1942 in Shabani, Southern Rhodesia, to a large Shona family. His parents were farmers, and in the 1950s he and his family were forced to move to Northern Rhodesia because of his father's political activism. There he became active in anti-colonial politics, and in 1963 he joined the newly formed Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army, the militant wing of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU). He returned to Rhodesia in 1964 as leader of the "Crocodile Gang", a group that attacked white-owned farms in the Eastern Highlands. In 1965, he bombed a train near Fort Victoria (now Masvingo) and was imprisoned for ten years, after which he was released and deported to the recently independent Zambia. At some point, he is said to have studied law at the University of Zambia and practised as an attorney for two years before going to Mozambique to rejoin ZANU. (There is no evidence from former classmates nor teachers that Mnangagwa ever studied law.) In Mozambique, he was assigned to be Robert Mugabe's assistant and bodyguard, and accompanied him to the Lancaster House Agreement which resulted in Zimbabwe's recognized independence in 1980.
After independence, Mnangagwa held a series of senior cabinet positions under Mugabe. From 1980 to 1988, he was the country's first Minister of State Security, and oversaw the Central Intelligence Organisation. His role in the Gukurahundi massacres, in which thousands of Ndebele civilians were killed during his tenure, is controversial. Mnangagwa was Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs from 1989 to 2000 and then Speaker of the Parliament from 2000 until 2005, when he was demoted to Minister of Rural Housing for openly jockeying to succeed the aging Mugabe. He returned to favour during the 2008 general election, in which he ran Mugabe's campaign, orchestrating political violence against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai. Mnangagwa served as Minister of Defence from 2009 until 2013, when he became justice minister again. He was also appointed First Vice-President in 2014 and was widely considered a leading candidate to succeed Mugabe.
Mnangagwa's ascendancy was opposed by Mugabe's wife, Grace Mugabe, and her Generation 40 political faction. Mugabe dismissed Mnangagwa from his positions in November 2017, and he fled to South Africa. Soon after, General Constantino Chiwenga, backed by elements of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and members of Mnangagwa's Lacoste political faction, launched a coup. After losing ZANU–PF's support, Mugabe resigned, and Mnangagwa returned to Zimbabwe to assume the presidency.
Mnangagwa is nicknamed "Garwe" or "Ngwena", which means "the crocodile" in the Shona language, initially because that was the name of the guerrilla group he founded, but later because of his political shrewdness. The faction within ZANU–PF that supports him is called Lacoste after the French clothing company whose logo is a crocodile. He is known in his home province of Midlands as "the Godfather".
Early life and education
Early childhood: 1942–1955
Dambudzo Mnangagwa was born on 15 September 1942 in Shabani (now Zvishavane), a mining town in central Southern Rhodesia. Some sources give his birth year as 1946, but Mnangagwa says he was born in 1942. His parents, Mafidhi and Mhurai Mnangagwa, were politically active farmers. He came from a large family; his grandfather had six wives and 32 sons, including his father (daughters were not counted), and Mnanganga is the third of ten siblings. His father had two wives, having inherited his wife Mhurai's sister after the death of her husband. Mnangagwa then had eight additional half-siblings who were also his cousins. The Mnangagwa family were members of the Karanga people, the largest subgroup of Zimbabwe's majority Shona ethnic group.
As a child, Mnangagwa herded cattle and was permitted to visit the local chief's court, where he went to watch cases being heard in a traditional tribal court. His paternal grandfather Mubengo Kushanduka had a great influence on him during his formative years. Kushanduka had served in the court of the Ndebele king Lobengula and fought in the Second Matabele War in the 1890s, and Mnangagwa enjoyed listening to him tell stories.
By the late 1940s, Mnangagwa's father Mafidhi had become the acting chief of the village. In 1952, a white Land Development Officer arrived and confiscated some cattle from the villagers, including an elderly woman who was left with just three. In response, Mafidhi's advisors removed a wheel from the officer's Land Rover, and Mafidhi was arrested. The District Commissioner said he did not want to fight or imprison him, and told him to go to Northern Rhodesia. He complied, settling in the town of Mumbwa with a relative. Several years later, he sent for the rest of his family, including Mnangagwa, to join him. They arrived in 1955 by train in Mumbwa, where more extended relatives would come to live over the years. There, Mnangagwa first met Robert Mugabe when Mugabe stayed with the Mnangagwa family for a time while working at a teachers' college in Lusaka. Mugabe inspired Mnangagwa to become involved in anti-colonial politics.
Education and early political activity: 1955–1962
Mnangagwa, who had begun his primary education at Lundi Primary School in Shabani, resumed his studies at Myooye School in Mumbwa. Most of his classmates at Myooye had three names, while Mnangagwa only had one, Dambudzo. After finding a book in the school library by the American philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, he decided to adopt the name "Emmerson" before his given name. After a short period at Myooye, Mnangagwa completed standards 4, 5, and 6 at Mumbwa Boarding School. From 1958 to 1959, he attended Kafue Trade School in Kafue, where he took a building course.
Although his course at Kafue was supposed to last three years, in 1959 Mnangagwa decided to leave early and attend Hodgson Technical College, one of the country's leading educational institutions. The college accepted only applicants with Ordinary Levels, which he lacked, so he took the entrance exam, and was admitted upon receiving a high score. At Hodgson, he enrolled in a four-year City and Guilds Industrial Building programme. He became involved in student anti-colonial politics, becoming an elected officer of the college's United National Independence Party (UNIP) branch. His activism sometimes turned violent, and in 1960 he was found guilty of setting one of the college's buildings on fire and expelled. After his expulsion, he started a construction company with three other men that lasted three months. He was tasked by UNIP leaders to organise and expand the party's presence in Bancroft, a town in Copperbelt Province, until the end of 1961. He then returned to Lusaka, where he served as Secretary of the UNIP Youth League while working for a private company.
Recruitment and training: 1962–1964
In 1962, Mnangagwa was recruited in Northern Rhodesia by Willie Musarurwa to join the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), a newly formed pro-independence party in Southern Rhodesia. He joined as a guerrilla fighter for ZAPU's armed wing, the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA), and was sent to Tanganyika (today Tanzania) for training. He first stayed in Mbeya, and then at the new training camp in Iringa, where he met leading black nationalists like James Chikerema and Clement Muchachi. While there, he criticized the decisions of ZAPU's leader, Joshua Nkomo, an offence for which a ZIPRA tribunal sentenced him to death. Two other ZAPU members of the same Karanga background, Simon Muzenda and Leopold Takawira, the party's external affairs secretary, intervened to save his life.
In April 1963, Mnangagwa and 12 other ZAPU members were sent via Dar es Salaam to Egypt for training at the Egyptian Military Academy in Cairo's Heliopolis suburb. In August 1963, ten of the 13 Southern Rhodesians in Egypt, including Mnangagwa, joined the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), which had been formed earlier that month as a breakaway group from ZAPU. The ten stopped training for ZAPU and were subsequently detained by Egyptian authorities. During their detention, they contacted ZANU leader Robert Mugabe, who was in Tanganyika, and communicated to him that they intended to join ZANU and had been detained. Mugabe redirected Trynos Makombe, who was returning from China, to Egypt to resolve the issue. Makombe secured their release and gave them plane tickets to Dar es Salaam. After arriving in Tanganyika in late August 1963, six of the eleven returned to Southern Rhodesia, while the remaining five, including Mnangagwa, were sent to briefly stay at a training camp in Bagamoyo run by FRELIMO, the group seeking to liberate Mozambique from Portuguese rule.
Mnangagwa soon left Tanganyika to train for ZANU's militant wing, the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA). Part of the first group of ZANLA fighters sent overseas for training, he and four others were sent to Beijing, China, where he spent the first two months studying at Peking University's School of Marxism, run by the Communist Party of China. He then spent three months in combat training in Nanjing and studied at a school for military engineering before returning to Tanzania in May 1964. There, he briefly stayed at ZANLA's Itumbi Reefs training camp near Chunya.
The Crocodile Gang: 1964–1965
Upon returning to Tanzania, Mnangagwa cofounded the "Crocodile Gang", a ZANLA guerrilla unit led by William Ndangana that included the men he had trained with in China: John Chigaba, Robert Garachani, Lloyd Gundu, Felix Santana, and Phebion Shonhiwa. They were meant to be provided with weapons, but none were available. The group rushed to attend the ZANU Congress in the Mkoba section of Gwelo, arriving the day before it commenced. At the congress, Ndabaningi Sithole was elected president, Takawira vice president, Herbert Chitepo national chairman, and Mugabe secretary general. Shortly after the congress, three of Mnangagwa's comrades-in-arms were captured and arrested for smuggling guns into the country. He sent Lawrence Svosve to Lusaka to retrieve some messages, but he was never seen again. Despite these losses, the Crocodile Gang remained active and was joined by Matthew Malowa, a ZANU member who had trained in Egypt.
Besides smuggling weapons into Rhodesia, ZANLA leaders tasked the Crocodile Gang with recruiting new members from the urban centres of Salisbury, Fort Victoria, Belingwe, and Macheke, and smuggling them through the border at Mutoko into Tanzania for training. The Crocodile Gang traveled back and forth on foot between Salisbury and Mutoko. Soon, ZANU leaders at Sikombela sent the group a message urging them to take extreme actions to gain publicity. They hoped exposure would bring ZANU's efforts to the attention of the Organisation of African Unity's Liberation Committee, which was meeting in Dar es Salaam at the time. The Crocodile Gang, now comprising Ndangana, Malowa, Victor Mlambo, James Dhlamini, Master Tresha, and Mnangagwa, met to make plans at Sithole's house in Salisbury's Highfield township.
On 4 July 1964, the Crocodile Gang ambushed and murdered Pieter Johan Andries Oberholzer, a white foreman and police reservist, in Chimanimani, near Southern Rhodesia's eastern border. Dhlamini and Mlambo were caught and hanged; the others evaded capture. The event marked the first instance of violence in what became the Rhodesian Bush War, and caused the government to crack down on both ZANU and ZAPU. In August 1964, the administration of Prime Minister Ian Smith imprisoned Sithole, Takawira, Edgar Tekere, Enos Nkala, and Maurice Nyagumbo. ZANLA was left with Josiah Tongogara and Herbert Chitepo as its leaders. Before Oberholzer's murder, the gang had already bombed the Nyanyadzi police station and attempted other ambushes after arriving in Southern Rhodesia via bus from Kitwe, Northern Rhodesia. It continued its campaign of violence after the murder, setting up roadblocks to terrorize whites and attacking white-owned farms in the country's Eastern Highlands. It was known for its use of knives and for leaving green handwritten anti-government pamphlets at the scenes of its crimes.
In late 1964, Mnangagwa blew up a train near Fort Victoria (now Masvingo), and was arrested by police inspectors in January 1965 at the Highfield home of Michael Mawema, who may have given them his location. He was given over to the Rhodesia Special Branch, which tortured him by hanging him upside down and beating him, an ordeal that reportedly caused him to lose hearing in his left ear. He was convicted under Section 37(1)(b) of the Law and Order Maintenance Act and sentenced to death, but his lawyers successfully argued that he was under 21, the minimum age for execution. Depending on which birth year is accepted for Mnangagwa, this claim might have been a lie. Other sources state that a priest intervened on his behalf, or that he avoided execution because he was Zambian, not because of his age. Whatever the reason, Mnangagwa was instead sentenced to ten years in prison.
Mnangagwa served the first year of his sentence in Salisbury Central Prison, followed by Grey Street Prison in Bulawayo and finally Khami Maximum Security Prison in Bulawayo, where he arrived on 13 August 1966 and spent the next six years and eight months. At Khami, Mnangagwa was given the number 841/66 and classified as "D" class, reserved for those considered most dangerous, and was held in a separate block of cells with other political prisoners, whom the government kept away from other prisoners out of fear that they would influence them ideologically. His cell, Cell 42, was in "B" Hall, which also housed future Vice President Kembo Mohadi and revolutionary and journalist Willie Musarurwa.
Mnangagwa's cell at Khami was austere, with double-thick walls and only a toilet bucket and Bible allowed inside. At first, while still on death row, he was allowed to leave his cell for only 15 minutes per day, during which he was expected to exercise, empty his toilet bucket, and have a shower in the communal washroom. The Rhodesia Prison Service had different facilities and rules for white and black prisoners, the latter of whom had significantly inferior conditions. Black inmates were given just two sets of clothes and fed plain sadza and vegetables for every meal. For his first four years at Khami, Mnangagwa was assigned to hard labour. After Red Cross representatives visited and complained to the government about the poor conditions of political prisoners, conditions were eased somewhat. Instead of hard labour, Mnangagwa then volunteered as a tailor, since he knew how to use a sewing machine. After two years mending inmates' clothes, he was made to rejoin other prisoners in doing hard labour, crushing rocks in a large pit in the prison yard.
Mnangagwa was discharged from Khami on 6 January 1972 and transferred back to Salisbury Central Prison, where he was detained alongside other revolutionaries, including Mugabe, Nkala, Nyagumbo, Tekere and Didymus Mutasa. There, he befriended Mugabe and attended his prison classes, after which he passed his O Levels and A Levels. Together, they studied law via correspondence courses. He initially wanted to pursue a Bachelor of Science in economics, but instead decided to study law. In 1972, he took his final examinations for a Bachelor of Laws through the University of London International Programmes. Mnangagwa and his lawyers discovered a loophole that allowed him to be deported if he claimed to be Zambian. Even after his ten-year sentence expired, he remained in prison for several months while his papers were being processed. In 1975, after more than ten years in prison, including three in solitary confinement, he was released and deported to Zambia, where his parents were still living. He was brought to the Livingstone border post and handed over to Zambian police. A ZANLA representative met him at the Victoria Falls Bridge and took him to Lusaka.
Legal studies and ZANU leadership: 1975–1980
Once in Lusaka, Mnangagwa continued his education at the University of Zambia, where he was active in the student board for politics, graduating with a postgraduate law degree. He then completed his articling with a Lusaka-based law firm led by Enoch Dumbutshena, who would later become Zimbabwe's first black judge. He was admitted to the Zambian bar in 1976. At the same time, Mnangagwa was also serving as the Secretary for ZANU's Zambia Division, based in Lusaka. After a couple years working for a private law firm, he moved to Mozambique. He visited Maputo at the request of Josiah Tongogara, and on the basis of the friendship he had developed with Mugabe in prison, became a security chief for ZANU. While there, he met Mugabe again, and became his assistant and bodyguard. At the 1977 ZANU Congress in Chimoio, he was elected Special Assistant to President Mugabe and a member of ZANU's National Executive. In this capacity, Mnangagwa headed both the civil and military divisions of ZANU. His deputy was Vitalis Zvinavashe, head of security for the Military High Command but ranked below Mnangagwa in the Central Committee's Department of Security.
Mnangagwa accompanied Mugabe to the London negotiations that led to the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement, which ended the country's unilateral declaration of independence and created the Republic of Zimbabwe. In January 1980, Mnangagwa led the first group of civilian leaders, including Mutasa and Eddison Zvobgo, as they made their way from Maputo into Zimbabwe in April of that year.
Post-independence political career
Minister of State for National Security: 1980–1988
On 12 March 1980, a little more than a month before Zimbabwe's independence, incoming Prime Minister Robert Mugabe named his first cabinet. Mnangagwa was named Minister of State for National Security in the President's Office. Among other roles, he oversaw the Central Intelligence Organisation, the national intelligence agency. In that position, he cultivated strong relationships with Zimbabwe's security establishment. After the head of the Zimbabwean military, Rhodesian holdover General Peter Walls, was dismissed by Mugabe on 15 September 1980, Mnangagwa also took over as Chairman of the Joint Operations Command. In that role, he oversaw the integration of ZANLA and ZIPRA fighters with the preexisting units of the Rhodesian Army. During this period, he also served as ZANU's secretary for national security.
In the 1985 parliamentary election, Mnangagwa ran as the ZANU candidate for the Kwekwe East constituency. He won with 86% of the vote, defeating ZAPU's Elias Hananda and the United African National Council's Kenneth Kumbirayi Kaparepare, who respectively received 11% and 3% of the vote.
While Mnangagwa was Minister of State for National Security, the 5th Brigade of the Zimbabwe National Army killed thousands of Ndebele civilians in the Matabeleland region of western Zimbabwe. These massacres, known as the Gukurahundi, lasted from 1983 to 1987, and resulted in an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 deaths. The extent of Mnangagwa's role in the massacres is disputed, with Mnangagwa himself denying any involvement. He asked in a 2017 interview, "How do I become the enforcer of the Gukurahundi? We had the president, the minister of defence, the commander of the army, and I was none of that."
Despite his denial, Mnangagwa is accused by many, including foreign governments, opposition politicians, and human rights groups, of playing a significant, or leading role in the Gukurahundi. As national security minister, his CIO worked with the army to suppress ZAPU, a rival political party that drew its support from Ndebele people. In the lead-up to the massacres, he delivered speeches attacking the opposition. In a 15 March 1983 speech at a rally in Victoria Falls, reported by The Chronicle, he described government opponents as "cockroaches" and "bugs" that required the government to bring in DDT (a pesticide) to remove them. He also said that their villages should be burned. In another, he said: "Blessed are they who follow the path of government laws, for their days on earth shall be increased. But woe unto those who will choose the path of collaboration with dissidents, for we will certainly shorten their stay on earth."
When the massacres began, Mnangagwa was tasked with explaining the violence to the international community, making most of the public comments on behalf of the Zimbabwean government on the activities of the 5th Brigade. In addition, documents from both the United States Department of State and the Australian Embassy in Harare reveal Mnangagwa's knowledge of and role in the Gukurahundi. While the 5th Brigade, rather than Mnangagwa's CIO, carried out the vast majority of the killings, the CIO participated in other ways, including apprehending and interrogating alleged dissidents. Whereas the 5th Brigade targeted large numbers of Ndebele civilians, the CIO often focused on more specific targets, particularly ZAPU leaders and organizers. The CIO also provided information, including documents and surveillance intelligence, to the 5th Brigade and other parts of government involved in the violence. The CIO gave Bush War-era ZIPRA personnel files to the 5th Brigade, which used them to seek out ex-ZANU and ZIPRA leaders in Matabeleland. In addition to focused violence and intelligence-sharing, CIO leaders also cooperated with other groups participating in the Gukurahundi through informal channels of communication. Stuart Doran, an independent historian, wrote that in Zimbabwe, coordination between government agencies did not always occur within bureaucratic channels, but often through tribal or political connections. Doran argued that as Mugabe's security minister, Mnangagwa's role was not restricted by the limitations of his ministry or the CIO.
The Gukurahundi ended with the signing of the Unity Accord on 22 December 1987. The accord, signed by Prime Minister Mugabe and ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo merged ZANU and ZAPU into the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front, or ZANU–PF. On 18 April 1988, Mugabe announced amnesty for all dissidents, and in return, Nkomo called on them to lay down their arms. In the late 1980s, a series of court cases exposed the existence of apartheid South African spies within the CIO, who played a significant role in causing the Gukurahundi by providing distorted intelligence reports and purposely inflaming ethnic tensions. These spies, white holdovers from the Rhodesian era, contributed to South Africa's interest in destabilizing Zimbabwe. In particular, they sought to damage ZAPU and ZIPRA, which maintained close ties to the African National Congress, the leading anti-apartheid group fighting the government in South Africa. Mnangagwa admitted that the South Africa had a "major implant in intelligence under Smith" and that "they initially left these implants." Asked why these agents were allowed to remain the CIO, he responded "We had no choice. We could not allow our whole intelligence capability to collapse overnight."
White CIO agents who cooperated with South Africa included Geoffrey Price, an agent responsible for Prime Minister Mugabe's personal security, who, along with a small cell of white agents, supplied information leading to South Africa's August 1981 assassination of Joe Nzingo Gqabi, an ANC representative in Zimbabwe. Another, Matt Calloway, formerly the CIO's top agent in Hwenge District, was in 1983 connected by the Zimbabwean government to a South African operation that recruited disaffected Ndebeles and sent them back into Matabeleland as trained and armed guerrillas. The violence they sparked contributed to the start of the Gukurahundi. A third was Kevin Woods, an agent until 1986, who served as the CIO's top administrative officer in Bulawayo throughout much of the Gukurahundi. In 1988, Woods was arrested and charged with participating in a car bomb attack targeting an ANC representative in Bulawayo. At his trial, in a confession given freely because, he said, he feared interrogation methods which he was very familiar from his time at the CIO, Woods admitted to being a double agent for South Africa. Woods' confession, in a high-profile case that reached Zimbabwe's Supreme Court, brought new attention to the wide scope of South Africa's infiltration of Zimbabwe's intelligence apparatus, especially in relation to the Gukurahundi. The Woods exposé was embarrassing for Mnangagwa, and according to one source, caused Mugabe to remove him from the position of Minister of State Security.
Minister of Justice: 1988–2000
In 1988, President Mugabe appointed Mnangagwa Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. According to a 1988 report by the American embassy in Harare, Mugabe originally intended to appoint Mnangagwa Minister of Defence, but was persuaded not to by Nathan Shamuyarira and Sydney Sekeramayi, the leaders of the "Group of 26", a clique that sought to increase the political power of members of the Zezuru people, a Shona subgroup. Shamuyarira and Sekeramayi objected to Mnangagwa's appointment to the post because he was Karanga, another Shona subgroup, but did not oppose Mugabe's replacement appointee, Enos Nkala, an Ndebele. Not coincidentally, Sekeramayi himself succeeded Mnangagwa as Minister of State for National Security. Instead, Mugabe appointed Mnangagwa Minister of Justice, succeeding Eddison Zvobgo, another Karanga. Mnangagwa, who expected to be named Minister of Defence or Minister of Home Affairs, considered this appointment a demotion, as the ministry, under Zvobgo, had already completed its most important tasks in recent years. These included drafting the constitutional amendments for abolished the 20 seats in Parliament reserved for whites, and establishing an executive presidency, which both were completed in 1987. Mnangagwa was initially so disappointed that he considered leaving politics and entering the private sector, but eventually accepted his new position.
Mnangagwa ran for reelection to Parliament in the 1990 election, this time in the newly created Kwekwe constituency. ZANU–PF ran a publicized and organized campaign in Kwekwe, holding meetings between Mnangagwa and community leaders, and putting up numerous posters. However, there were also reports of voter intimidation and harassment, including from Women's League members, some of whom said they were threatened into joining a demonstration against the Zimbabwe Unity Movement, the rival party contesting Mnangagwa's seat. On election day, Mnangagwa won with 23,898 votes, while his little-known rival, ZUM candidate Sylvester Chibanda, received only 7,094 votes. Mnangagwa was reelected again in the 1995 parliamentary election, in another race marked by voter intimidation. Election monitors in Kwekwe reported that voters were told that if they did not vote with ZANU–PF, the Gukurahundi atrocities would be repeated against them.
While justice minister, Mnangagwa also served as acting Finance Minister from November 1995 to April 1996, after the previous minister, Bernard Chidzero, stepped down due to health reasons, and his successor Ariston Chambati died. He was also acting Minister of Foreign Affairs for a short period. In 1998, Mnangagwa was put in charge of Zimbabwe's intervention in the Second Congo War, in which the Zimbabwe National Army entered the Democratic Republic of the Congo to defend Congolese President Laurent-Désiré Kabila. A 2000 article in the Zimbabwean magazine Moto described him as Mugabe's heir apparent, and wrote "With the DRC issue at hand, it has been difficult to tell whether he is the Minister of Justice or the Minister of Defence as he has been shuttling between Harare and Kinshasa." During the war, Mnangagwa enriched himself through mineral wealth seized from the Congo. After Billy Rautenbach, a Zimbabwean businessman, was placed in charge of Gécamines, the Congolese state mining company, Mnangagwa began brokering deals between the company and Zimbabwean connections.
Speaker of Parliament: 2000–2005
Mnangagwa ran in the 2000 parliamentary election as the ZANU–PF candidate for the Kwekwe constituency. He was defeated by the Movement for Democratic Change candidate, Blessing Chebundo, who received 64% of the vote to Mnangagwa's 35%. Mnangagwa lost in spite of voter intimidation and violence by ZANU–PF, which included dousing Chebundo in petrol and attempting to burn him alive, as well as setting Chebundo's house on fire. After his defeat, Mugabe appointed Mnangagwa to one of the 20 unelected seats in Parliament.
On 17 July 2000, Mugabe announced a new cabinet, from which Mnangagwa was conspicuously absent. His exclusion from the cabinet fanned speculation that Mnangagwa, widely seen as Mugabe's preferred successor, had lost favour with the president. However, the next day, when Parliament was sworn in, Mnangagwa was elected Speaker of the House of Assembly, receiving 87 votes against MDC candidate Mike Mataure's 59 votes. The secret ballot election was the first competitive speaker's election since the country's independence. Rather than having lost the president's favour, Mugabe likely excluded Mnangagwa from the cabinet because he was arranging for him to serve as speaker instead.
In October 2000, Mnangagwa thwarted an attempt by the MDC members of Parliament to impeach Mugabe. During his tenure as speaker, Mnangagwa continued to be subject to international scrutiny regarding his mining interests in the Congo during the Second Congo War. A 2001 United Nations report described him as "the architect of the commercial activities of ZANU–PF." A The Guardian article from the same year wrote that Mnangagwa "negotiated the swapping of Zimbabwean soldiers' lives for mining contracts." In 2002, a report authored by a five-member panel commissioned by the UN Security Council implicated him in the exploitation of mineral wealth from the Congo and for his involvement in making Harare a significant illicit diamond trading centre. The panel and recommended that he, along with 53 others, be subject to international travel bans and financial restrictions. He was placed on the United States sanctions list in 2003.
In December 2004, internal divisions within ZANU–PF became public when Mnangagwa, along with Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of Information, were censured at a party meeting for allegedly plotting against Mugabe. The controversy began when Moyo hosted a meeting with other politicians in his home district of Tsholotsho to discuss replacing Mugabe's choice for First Vice-President, Joice Mujuru, with Mnangagwa. As Vice-President, they hoped Mnangagwa would be in a superior position to become president when Mugabe stepped down, which they thought might happen as early as 2008. They also planned to replace ZANU–PF chair John Nkomo and party vice-president Joseph Msika with their preferred candidates.
Despite President Mugabe's calls for unity, observers described the rivalry between supporters of Mnangagwa and Mujuru as the most serious division within ZANU–PF in 30 years. Mujuru garnered a large amount of support in ZANU–PF's politburo, central committee, presidium, and among the provincial party chairs. Mnangagwa's support came from the senior ranks of the security establishment, as well as parts of ZANU–PF's parliamentary caucus and younger party members. The rivalry was ethnic as well as political: Mnangagwa drew his support from members of his ethnic group, the Karanga, while Mujuru's supporters were largely Zezuru.
At the party congress, held from 1 to 5 December 2004, Mujuru was named vice-president, while Moyo and other Mnangagwa proponents were disciplined. Moyo was removed from the cabinet and the Politburu, and seven others were penalized with suspensions, preventing them from running for Parliament in the upcoming elections. Mnangagwa attempted to distance himself from the controversy, but nevertheless lost his title as ZANU–PF's secretary for administration, an office he had held for four years and one that allowed him to appoint his allies to important party positions. In what was considered a demotion, was given the less influential position of secretary for legal affairs instead.
Minister of Rural Housing: 2005–2009
In the March 2005 parliamentary election, Mnangagwa was again defeated by Blessing Chebundo in the Kwekwe constituency, this time with 46 percent of the votes to Chebundo's 54 percent. Just as before, Mugabe appointed Mnangagwa to one of the unelected seats in Parliament. John Nkomo replaced Mnangagwa as Speaker of Parliament. In the new cabinet, Mugabe named Mnangagwa as Minister of Rural Housing and Social Amenities. This was widely seen as a demotion by Mugabe in retribution for Mnangagwa's involvement in the plot for him to become vice-president over Mujuru, the president's choice.
In 2005, Mnangagwa helped carry out Operation Murambatsvina, an initiative in which urban slums, home to many people who opposed Mugabe's rule, were destroyed, resulting in the homelessness of thousands of the urban poor. By 2007, Mnangagwa was reportedly back in Mugabe's favour, and the president was now said to be dismayed at the political activities of Mnangagwa's rival, Vice-President Mujuru, and her husband, former army chief Solomon Mujuru.
2007 alleged coup d'état attempt
In May 2007, the Zimbabwean government announced that it had foiled an alleged coup d'état involving nearly 400 soldiers and high-ranking members of the military that would have occurred on either 2 or 15 June 2007. The alleged leaders of the coup, all of whom were arrested, were retired army Captain Albert Matapo, Zimbabwe National Army spokesman Ben Ncube, Major General Engelbert Rugeje, and Air Vice Marshal Elson Moyo.
According to the government, the soldiers planned on forcibly removing Mugabe from the presidency and asking Mnangagwa to form a government with the heads of the armed forces. Reportedly, the government first learned of the plot when a former army officer in Paris, France, who opposed the coup contacted police and gave them a map and list of those involved. Mnangagwa said that he had no knowledge of the plot, and called it "stupid." Some analysts speculated that rival potential successors to Mugabe, such as former ZANLA leader Solomon Mujuru, may have been behind the scheme in an attempt to discredit Mnangagwa, who had for a number of years been seen as Mugabe's likely successor.
Treason charges were laid against Matapo and other alleged plotters, but no trial ever took place for lack of evidence. Nevertheless, Matapo and six others (not including Ncube, Rugeje, or Moyo) ended up spending seven years in Chikurubi Prison before being released in 2014. Matapo denied that he and the other accused plotters planning a coup, and said he had no interest in supporting Mnangagwa, whom he regarded as equally bad, if not worse than Mugabe. Instead, Matapo said that the group were simply trying to form a new political party, which they eventually did after their release from prison.
2008 election and return to favour
In the March 2008 parliamentary election, Mnangagwa stood as ZANU–PF's candidate in the newly created Chirumanzu–Zibagwe constituency in rural Midlands Province. He won by a wide margin, receiving 9,645 votes against two MDC candidates, Mudavanhu Masendeke and Thomas Michael Dzingisai, who respectively received 1,548 and 894 votes.
Mnangagwa was Mugabe's chief election agent during the 2008 presidential election, and headed Mugabe's campaign behind the scenes. Along with his team, Mnangagwa worked with party loyalists within the Joint Operations Command to ensure a Mugabe victory on election day. He organised a campaign of violence in the leadup to the second round of voting that caused opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who had won the first round, to withdraw from the election, which secured Mugabe's continued rule.
Minister of Defence: 2009–2013
After the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai won a majority of seats in Parliament, Mnangagwa played a critical role in brokering a power-sharing pact between ZANU–PF and the MDC–T. When the Government of National Unity was sworn in on 13 February 2009, Mnangagwa became Minister of Defence. Despite having organised a campaign of political violence against the MDC–T in 2008, and allegedly having been behind three separate attempts to assassinate Tsvangirai over the years, Mnangagwa spoke kindly about the country's coalition government in a 2011 interview. He said, "a lot of things have happened that are positive... we can work together without too many problems."
In spite of his compliments of the unity government, Mnangagwa was accused by human rights groups of using his influence in the Joint Operations Command to mobilize violent pro-ZANU–PF groups ahead of the 2013 elections. Mnangagwa denied that he was in charge of the JOC, calling the allegations "nonsense" and insisting that he wanted upcoming elections to be "free and fair." He also denied having any presidential ambitions, pointing out that ZANU–PF has procedures to choose a new president.
In the July 2013 general election, Mugabe was re-elected President by a wide margin, and ZANU–PF regained its majority in the National Assembly. On 10 September 2013, Mugabe announced a new cabinet, appointing Mnangagwa to the post of Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, the office he previously held from 1989 to 2000. Vice-President Joice Mujuru's faction of the party was seen as the victor in Mugabe's cabinet appointment, taking most key positions, including Minister of Defence, which was previously Mnangagwa's office but was given to Sydney Sekeramayi in the new cabinet. In contrast, Mnangagwa's faction received only two key portfolios: Patrick Chinamasa as Minister of Finance, and Mnangagwa himself as Minister of Justice. Eldred Masunungure, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe, attributed the Mujuru faction's gains to their influence in the ZANU–PF presidium. Masunungure described Mnangagwa's move from being Minister of Defence to becoming Minister of Justice as a "significant blow, though the justice ministry is quite important."
Vice-President of Zimbabwe: 2014–2017
On 10 December 2014, President Mugabe appointed Mnangagwa as First Vice-President of Zimbabwe, appearing to confirm his position as the presumed successor to Mugabe. His appointment followed the dismissal of Mnangagwa's long-time rival in the succession, Joice Mujuru, who was cast into the political wilderness amidst allegations that she had plotted against Mugabe. Mnangagwa admitted he was not sure how the President would react to the allegations against Mujuru, but said he was satisfied with the outcome. He added that he had not known he was going to be named vice-president until Mugabe announced it. Mnangagwa was sworn in as vice-president on 12 December 2014, while retaining his post as Minister of Justice. Soon afterward it was reported that Mugabe had begun delegating some presidential duties to Mnangagwa. On 11 January 2016, Mnangagwa became acting President of Zimbabwe while President Mugabe was on his annual vacation. Mnangagwa took over from Second Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, who had been acting president since Mugabe went on vacation on 24 December 2015. The decision to have Mnangagwa serve as acting president rebutted rumors that Mugabe favoured Mphoko over Mnangagwa.
As Vice-President, Mnangagwa focused on reviving Zimbabwe's agricultural sector and expanding the country's global trade connections. He helped negotiate trade deals with BRICS members Russia, China, and South Africa. In 2015, he also headed trade delegations to Europe to try and re-open trade ties that had been broken with the imposition of sanctions in 2001. In July 2016, Mnangagwa visited China, where he met with business leaders as well as Communist Party leaders and government officials, including Vice President Li Yuanchao. An interview Mnangagwa did with China Central Television, in which he said that Zimbabwe had fallen behind in development and called for reform, reportedly angered Mugabe, who saw it as criticism of his presidency. In 2016, Mnangagwa announced that the Zimbabwean government would launch "Command Agriculture", an agricultural programme backed by the African Development Bank. The programme, which Mnangagwa said would receive US$500 million in funding, would involve 2,000 maize-growing small-scale and commercial farmers and would allow the government to determine how much maize is grown and the price at which it is sold.
Power struggles and dismissal
Until she was dismissed as First Vice-President, Joice Mujuru was widely seen as Mnangagwa's main rival to succeed Mugabe as president. However, with Mujuru and her key supporters having been purged from the government and the party, she was no longer a threat to Mnangagwa. Prior to her dismissal, Mujuru had been the target of relentless disparagement by the president's wife, Grace Mugabe, who accused her of corruption and incompetence. Because both found common cause in opposing Mujuru, by the time he became vice-president, the First Lady was seen as an emergent political ally of Mnangagwa. However, by late 2015, Mnangagwa's political ambitions openly clashed with those of Grace Mugabe, who was by then seen as a potential successor to her husband.
ZANU–PF was largely split between two factions, the Generation 40, or G40, led by Grace Mugabe, and the Lacoste faction, thought to be led by Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa drew his support from war veterans and the country's military establishment, in part because of his past leadership of the Joint Operations Command, as well as his reputation in Zimbabwe as a cultivator of stability. The First Lady, a relative political newcomer and head of the ZANU–PF Women's League, drew her support from younger, reform-minded party members who sought to replace the old guard. As her G40 faction set their sights on Mnangagwa, the Lacoste faction, largely made up of senior party members, pushed back. Mnangagwa used his leadership of Zimbabwe's Anti-Corruption Commission to try to discredit G40 leaders by targeting them with highly publicized criminal investigations.
By 2016, Grace Mugabe was openly savaging Mnangagwa at political rallies and speaking events. Speaking to crowds at a February 2016 ZANU–PF rally in Chiweshe, she accused him of disloyalty and infidelity, among other offences. She accused him of feigning love for Mugabe, and mocked his presidential ambitions, rhetorically asking, "Didn't you hear there's no vacancy at State House?", referring to the presidential residence. The First Lady further accused Mnangagwa, or his supporters, of trying to bomb her dairy farm (in fact, several army officers and fringe political activists were charged with the crime), and insinuated that his supporters were behind a plot to murder her son. Later that year, in November 2016, Mugabe declared that she was "already President" at a Women's League assembly, adding, "I plan and do everything with the president, what more do I want?" Still, President Mugabe did not, at least publicly, take sides in the feud between his wife and Mnangagwa. In February 2017, after his 93rd birthday, Mugabe announced he would not retire nor pick a successor, though he said he would let ZANU–PF pick a successor if it saw fit. In July 2017, Grace Mugabe publicly called on her husband to name an heir.
On 11 August 2017, Mnanangwa was allegedly poisoned at a political rally led by President Mugabe. After falling ill at the ZANU–PF Presidential Youth Interface Rally in Gwanda, Mnangagwa was airlifted first to Gweru, then to Harare, and finally to South Africa, where he underwent a minor surgery. Doctors reportedly ruled out routine food poisoning, but detected traces of palladium in his liver, which would require detoxification treatments over the following two months. Still, Minister of Information Chris Mushohwe maintained that "stale food" could have been to blame, stating, "I don't know about that palladium... our official statement stands." Following the incident, rumors spread among supporters of Mnangagwa that Grace Mugabe had ordered the vice-president's poisoning via ice cream produced at a dairy farm she controlled. The emergence of such rumors resulted in criticism directed at Mnangagwa. Phelekezela Mphoko, the country's other vice-president, publicly rebuked Mnangagwa, accusing him of attempting to weaken the country, divide ZANU–PF, and undermine the president, and claiming that doctors had concluded that stale food was to blame. Grace Mugabe herself denied the rumors and rhetorically asked, "Who is Mnangagwa; who is he?" Mnangagwa responded by pledging loyalty to ZANU–PF and President Mugabe, and said the rumors regarding Grace Mugabe's involvement were untrue, adding that he had not consumed any dairy products from the First Lady's farm.
On 9 October 2017, President Mugabe announced a new cabinet in which Mnangagwa, while maintaining the vice-presidency, lost his position as Minister of Justice to Happyton Bonyongwe, the country's spymaster. The previous week, Mnangagwa announced that he had been poisoned at the August rally in Gwanda, in contrast to previous statements where he said only that he had "fallen ill." That statement, coupled with President Mugabe's announcement several days later that he planned to review the performance of his ministers, led to speculation that a cabinet reshuffle could result in an unfavorable outcome for Mnangagwa.
On 6 November 2017, Mnangagwa was dismissed as vice-president by Mugabe, in a move that positioned the First Lady Grace Mugabe to succeed the aging president. Information Minister Simon Khaya-Moyo attributed the dismissal to Mnangagwa's "traits of disloyalty, disrespect, deceitfulness, and unreliability." Mnangagwa had been accused of undermining the president's authority and of plotting to take control of key government institutions. In a possible prelude to Mnangagwa's dismissal, two days earlier at a youth rally in Bulawayo, he had been cheered on by supporters, but was harshly rebuked by the president and first lady, who accused him of disloyalty. Mnangagwa's removal was supported by Grace Mugabe and her G40 faction within ZANU–PF, and was a blow to the influence of the party's Lacoste faction, the military establishment, and the War Veterans Association, which formed his base of support.
2017 coup d'état
On 8 November 2017, two days after his dismissal as vice-president, Mnangagwa fled to Mozambique and then South Africa to escape what he called "incessant threats" against him and his family. Roughly a week later, on 14 November 2017, elements of the Zimbabwean military gathered in Harare, seizing control of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and key areas of the city. The following day, Major General Sibusiso Moyo, representing the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, gave a live statement broadcast on the ZBC. Moyo asserted that the military was not taking over and that President Mugabe was safe, and that the military was "targeting criminals" responsible for the country's problems.
On 19 November 2017, Mugabe was sacked by ZANU–PF, and Grace Mugabe and 20 of her high-ranking supporters were expelled from the party. Mnangagwa, who was in South Africa at the time, was chosen as the party's new leader, and was expected to soon become president. President Mugabe was given a deadline of noon of 20 November to resign before impeachment proceedings would begin. Mugabe initially refused to step down, but ultimately resigned the next day before he could be impeached. ZANU–PF immediately nominated Mnangagwa as his successor, and it was announced that he would take over within 48 hours. Mnangagwa returned to Zimbabwe on 22 November from South Africa. The ZBC, the state broadcaster, confirmed that Mnangagwa would be sworn in on 24 November 2017. The day before his inauguration, Mnangagwa urged his followers not to seek "vengeful retribution" against his political enemies, after calls from his supporters to attack the Generation 40 faction.
President of Zimbabwe
Mnangagwa was sworn in as President of Zimbabwe on 24 November 2017 at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, before a crowd of around 60,000. Entertainment was provided by Zimbabwean singer Jah Prayzah, and attendees included several African leaders, foreign dignitaries, and domestic political figures, including opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Joice Mujuru. Foreign leaders who attended included President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana, President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique, Zambian President Edgar Lungu and former President Kenneth Kaunda, and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud and former Namibian presidents Sam Nujoma and Hifikepunye Pohamba and current Vice-President Nickey Iyambo. Rory Stewart, the United Kingdom's Minister of State for Africa and the first British minister to visit Zimbabwe in two decades, attended the inauguration, and issued a statement describing the change in leadership as "an absolutely critical moment" after Mugabe's "ruinous rule." Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace were notably absent, the official explanation being that the former president needed to rest. South African President Jacob Zuma was also absent, but was represented by his Telecommunications Minister, Siyabonga Cwele.
Mnangagwa was sworn in by Chief Justice Luke Malaba. In his inaugural speech, he vowed to serve all citizens, reduce corruption, and revitalize the country's struggling economy. He distanced himself from President Mugabe by promising to "reengage with the world," but also paid tribute to his predecessor, praising him as "a father, mentor, comrade in arms, and my leader." He also said that Mugabe's post-2000 land reform programmes would be maintained, but that white farmers would be compensated for their seized land. He called for an end to European Union and United States sanctions against top Zimbabwean military and ZANU–PF figures (including himself), and stated that the 2018 general election would be held as planned.
On 18 January 2018, Mnangagwa signalled his desire to re-engage with the West by inviting the United Nations, European Union and the Commonwealth to monitor elections in Zimbabwe in 2018. Additionally, Mnangagwa has signalled his wish to re-establish good relations with the United Kingdom and additionally rejoin the Commonwealth, a prospect which he said was improved by the British exit from the European Union.
On 27 November 2017, Mnangagwa dissolved the Cabinet of Zimbabwe and appointed only two acting ministers. Misheck Sibanda, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, issued a statement saying: "To allow for uninterrupted services in critical ministries of government, the following have been appointed ministers in acting capacity until the announcement of a new cabinet: Honourable Patrick Chinamasa as acting minister of finance and economic development, and Honourable Simbarashe Mumbengegwi as acting minister of foreign affairs." His new cabinet was named on 30 November 2017.
On 6 December 2017, Mnangagwa was criticised because members of the armed forces and police services drove vendors from the streets of Harare and took the goods which they were attempting to sell. Some of the vendors were heard saying Mnangagwa was worse than Robert Mugabe and that "Mugabe was in a way better, he never sent soldiers to take away our goods."
Whilst leaving the podium after addressing a rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo, the country's second-largest city, and ahead of the scheduled 31 July elections, a grenade was thrown at Mnangagwa and exploded. Mnangagwa escaped unharmed, although several members of the ZANU-PF party were injured, including his first and second vice-presidents—Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi—as well as Marry Chiwenga, the first vice-president's wife.
In January 2019, Mnangagwa announced fuel prices would be raised by 130% in an attempt to stop oil smuggling activities where offenders would buy petrol and transport it to surrounding countries. A financial and energy crisis stemmed from Zimbabwean bond coins and bills, with a value purportedly tied to the U.S. dollar, but being in reality worth noticeably less. For this reason, the proxy currency was being treated as being at a greater value than its actual worth, resulting in artificially low prices; the exportation of fuel purchased with this currency for resale with profits by smugglers presented significant problems as hard currency, which backs the proxy, is used by the nation to purchase all of Zimbabwe's oil from foreign countries, thus aggravating inflation and driving down the real value of the bond notes. As a measure to decrease the inflation rate, which had reached a peak of 18% in October 2018, the Mnangagwa government raised prices to effectively the highest in the world while keeping the bond currency, exceeding Hong Kong's fuel prices, the highest until that time; nationwide protests broke out after the price increase was announced. The police and military responded with a crackdown that resulted in hundreds of arrests and 12 deaths. Mnangagwa stated that claims of misconduct by the security forces would be investigated.
Indigenisation and black economic empowerment
Mnangagwa has, since the early 1990s, played a key role in implementing the "Indigenisation and Black Economic Empowerment" initiative, as advised by prominent indigenous businessmen including Ben Mucheche, John Mapondera and Paul Tangi Mhova Mkondo and the think tank and lobby group IBDC, how to propel the policy from Local policy, Ministerial Policy, Government Policy & Development of a ministry specific to Indigenisation & Black Economic Empowerment, such as Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill. Mnangagwa believes that the national resources should be protected by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
Mnangagwa has been married twice and has nine children and more than a dozen grandchildren. His first wife, Jayne Matarise, was a cousin of ZANLA commander Josiah Tongogara. They married in September 1973 and had six children together: Farai, Tasiwa, Vimbayi, Tapiwa, Tariro, and Emmerson Tanaka. His first two daughters, Farai and Tasiwa, were born in Zambia during the Bush War period. When Mnangagwa joined the ZANU leadership in Mozambique, Jayne initially remained in Zambia with the children, but later joined him there. After independence, she oversaw the family farm and a business of her own while her husband focused on his political career. Jayne Mnangagwa died on 31 January 2002 of cervical cancer.
While still married to Jayne, Mnangagwa began a relationship with Auxillia Kutyauripo. Their first son, Emmerson Jr., was born in 1984, followed by twins Sean and Collins. They reportedly married only after Jayne's death in 2002. Auxillia Mnangagwa, a former CIO officer and ZANU–PF Central Committee member, was elected to Parliament in 2015 for Chirumanzu–Zibagwe, the seat her husband vacated when he became vice-president. She did not run for reelection in the 2018 election, citing her desire to focus on her role as First Lady. In 2021, the President conferred on the First Lady the Order of the Star of Zimbabwe Gold Award as part of the national Heroes and Defence Forces Day celebrations.
His eldest child, Farai Mlotshwa, owns a real estate agency and is married to Gerald Mlotshwa, the lawyer of Phelekezela Mphoko, a political rival of Mnangagwa's and a backer of the pro-Grace Mugabe Generation 40 faction. His youngest daughter, Tariro, is a member of a female anti-poaching unit in the Zambezi Valley and was featured in Gonarezhou, an anti-poaching film released February 2020. His youngest and only son with Jayne Matarise, Emmerson Tanaka, is a musician and DJ known professionally as St Emmo. His eldest son and first child with Auxillia, Emmerson Jr., works in business and is active in the Midlands Province ZANU–PF Youth League. His twin sons, Sean and Collins, are an engineer and businessman, respectively.
In addition to his original farm in Masvingo Province, Mnangagwa possesses another farm near Kwekwe, allocated in 2002 during the land reform programme.
- Honorary degrees
|Location||Date||School||Degree||Gave Commencement Address|
|Zimbabwe||10 October 2018||University of Zimbabwe||Doctor of Laws (LL.D) ||Yes|
|Zambia||10 October 2018||University of Zambia||Doctor of Laws (LL.D) ||Yes|
|Zimbabwe||9 August 2019||Zimbabwe National Defence University||Doctor of Philosophy (Defence and Security Studies) (Ph.D) ||Yes |
|Zimbabwe||4 October 2019||Chinhoyi University of Technology||Doctor of Engineering (D.Eng) ||Yes|
|Zimbabwe||8 November 2019||National University of Science and Technology||Doctor of Science (D.Sc) ||Yes|
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An army officer, who with six friends was abducted in May 2007 and ended up spending seven years in Chikurubi Prison, has broken his silence by speaking to The Zimbabwean this week. ... former Army Captain Albert Matapo ... and six others, Emmanuel Marara, Oncemore Mudzurahona, Partson Mupfure, Nyasha Zivuku, Rangarirai Mazivofa and Shingirai Webster Mutemachani, were abducted on May 29, 2007, at 108 Nelson Mandela Avenue, Harare, by people in plain clothes who identified themselves as CIO and army intelligence officers. ... 'We were abducted because we were in the process of forming a new political party which is now called United Crusade for Achieving Democracy (UCAD). ... Matapo said they were taken to an unknown destination where they suffered several forms of torture, including electrocution on the genitals. ... However, the treason trial did not commence due to lack of evidence and the seven men were released on March 1. ... They went ahead and formed their party, UCAD, which was launched on August 1 in Harare. ... 'There is no way normal people like us would remove Robert Mugabe and put Mnangagwa because they are one and the same. Mnangagwa can even be worse than Mugabe. ...'
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The swearing-in ceremony was attended by a number of regional dignitaries and international diplomats, including Botswana's President Ian Khama, who received a huge welcome following his repeated calls in recent days to Mugabe to step down. Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and his Zambian counterpart Edgar Lungu, as well as Zambia's former President Kenneth Kaunda were also in attendance. Also present was Rory Stewart, Africa minister for Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial power. ... Before the ceremony, Stewart, the first British minister to visit Zimbabwe in two decades, described in a statement the change in leadership as "an absolutely critical moment" after Mugabe's "ruinous rule.
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he ... called on the international community to lift sanctions in recognition of the country's "new start." ... and called for the EU and the United States to drop sanctions against top military and ZANU PF figures.
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