104 Facts About Emmerson Mnangagwa


Emmerson Mnangagwa secured his first full term as president in the disputed 2018 general election.


Emmerson Mnangagwa's 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.


Emmerson Mnangagwa returned to Rhodesia in 1964 as leader of the "Crocodile Gang", a group that attacked white-owned farms in the Eastern Highlands.


Emmerson Mnangagwa later studied law at the University of Zambia and practised as an attorney for two years before going to Mozambique to rejoin ZANU.


Emmerson 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.


Emmerson Mnangagwa served as Minister of Defence from 2009 until 2013, when he became justice minister again.


Emmerson Mnangagwa was appointed First Vice-President in 2014 and was widely considered a leading candidate to succeed Mugabe.


Emmerson Mnangagwa's ascendancy was opposed by Mugabe's wife, Grace Mugabe, and her Generation 40 political faction.


Emmerson Mnangagwa is known in his home province of Midlands as "the Godfather".


Emmerson Mnangagwa was included in Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2018.


Dambudzo Emmerson Mnangagwa was born on 15 September 1942 in Shabani, a mining town in central Southern Rhodesia.


Some sources give his birth year as 1946, but Emmerson Mnangagwa says he was born in 1942.


Emmerson Mnangagwa belonged to a large family; his grandfather had six wives and 32 sons, and Mnanganga himself is the third of ten siblings.


Emmerson Mnangagwa's father had two wives, having inherited his wife Mhurai's sister after the death of her husband.


Emmerson Mnangagwa thus had eight additional half-siblings who were his cousins.


The Emmerson Mnangagwa family were members of the Karanga people, the largest subgroup of Zimbabwe's majority Shona ethnic group.


Kushanduka had served in the court of the Ndebele king Lobengula and fought in the Second Matabele War in the 1890s, and Emmerson Mnangagwa enjoyed listening to him tell stories.


Emmerson Mnangagwa complied, settling in the town of Mumbwa with a relative.


Several years later, he sent for the rest of his family, including Emmerson Mnangagwa, to join him.


Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had begun his primary education at Lundi Primary School in Shabani, resumed his studies at Myooye School in Mumbwa.


Emmerson Mnangagwa became involved in student anti-colonial politics, becoming an elected officer of the college's United National Independence Party branch.


Emmerson Mnangagwa 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.


Emmerson Mnangagwa then returned to Lusaka, where he served as secretary of the UNIP Youth League while working for a private company.


In 1962, Emmerson Mnangagwa was recruited in Northern Rhodesia by Willie Musarurwa to join the Zimbabwe African People's Union, a newly-formed pro-independence party in Southern Rhodesia.


Emmerson Mnangagwa became a guerrilla fighter for ZAPU's armed wing, the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army, and was sent to Tanganyika for training.


Emmerson Mnangagwa stayed first in Mbeya, and then at a new training camp in Iringa, where he met leading black nationalists like James Chikerema and Clement Muchachi.


Emmerson Mnangagwa soon left Tanganyika to train for ZANU's militant wing, the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army.


Emmerson Mnangagwa then spent three months in combat training in Nanjing and studied at a school for military engineering before returning to Tanzania in May 1964.


The Crocodile Gang, now comprising Ndangana, Malowa, Victor Mlambo, James Dhlamini, Master Tresha, and Emmerson Mnangagwa, met to make plans at Ndabaningi Sithole's house in the Highfield suburb of Salisbury.


In late 1964, Emmerson Mnangagwa blew up a train near Fort Victoria, and was arrested by police inspectors in January 1965 at the Highfield home of Michael Mawema, who may have given them his location.


Emmerson Mnangagwa 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.


Emmerson Mnangagwa was convicted under Section 37 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.


Whatever the reason, Emmerson Mnangagwa was instead sentenced to ten years in prison.


Emmerson 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.


Emmerson Mnangagwa was then allowed to volunteer as a tailor, as he knew how to use a sewing machine.


Emmerson 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.


Emmerson Mnangagwa initially wanted to pursue a Bachelor of Science in economics, but instead decided to study law.


Emmerson Mnangagwa was brought to the Livingstone border post and handed over to Zambian police, after which a ZANLA representative met him at the Victoria Falls Bridge and took him to Lusaka.


In Lusaka, Emmerson 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.


Emmerson Mnangagwa then completed his articling with the Lusaka-based law firm of the Rhodesian-born Enoch Dumbutshena, who would later become Zimbabwe's first black judge.


Emmerson Mnangagwa was admitted to the Zambian bar in 1976.


Emmerson Mnangagwa 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.


Emmerson Mnangagwa's deputy was Vitalis Zvinavashe, head of security for the Military High Command but subordinate to Mnangagwa in the Central Committee's Department of Security.


In 1979, Emmerson Mnangagwa accompanied Mugabe to the negotiations in London that led to the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement, which brought an end to Rhodesia's unrecognised independence and ushered in majority rule.


In January 1980, Emmerson Mnangagwa led the first group of civilian leaders, including Mutasa and Eddison Zvobgo, as they made their way from Maputo into what would soon be the Republic of Zimbabwe.


On 12 March 1980, the month before Zimbabwe's independence, incoming Prime Minister Robert Mugabe named his first cabinet, in which Emmerson Mnangagwa was named Minister of State for National Security in the President's Office.


In that position, Emmerson Mnangagwa cultivated strong relationships with Zimbabwe's security establishment.


Emmerson Mnangagwa admitted that the South Africa had a "major implant in intelligence under Smith" and that Zimbabwe's post-independence government "initially left these implants".


The Woods affair was embarrassing for Emmerson Mnangagwa, and according to one source, caused Mugabe to remove him from the position of Minister of State Security.


Emmerson Mnangagwa, who expected to be named Minister of Defence or Minister of Home Affairs, considered this appointment a demotion, as the ministry had already completed its most important tasks under Zvobgo's leadership.


Emmerson Mnangagwa was initially so disappointed with his cabinet role that he considered leaving politics and entering the private sector, but he ultimately accepted the new position.


Emmerson Mnangagwa ran for reelection to Parliament in the 1990 election, this time in the newly-created Kwekwe constituency.


On election day, Emmerson Mnangagwa won with 23,898 votes, while his little-known rival, ZUM candidate Sylvester Chibanda, received only 7,094 votes.


Emmerson Mnangagwa was reelected again in the 1995 parliamentary election, in another race marked by voter intimidation.


Emmerson Mnangagwa was acting Minister of Foreign Affairs for a short period.


In 1998, Emmerson 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 on the side of Congolese President Laurent-Desire Kabila.


On 17 July 2000, Mugabe announced a new cabinet, from which Emmerson Mnangagwa was conspicuously absent.


However, the next day, when Parliament was sworn in, Emmerson Mnangagwa was elected Speaker of the House of Assembly, receiving 87 ballots against MDC candidate Mike Mataure's 59 votes.


In October 2000, Emmerson Mnangagwa thwarted an attempt by the MDC members of Parliament to impeach Mugabe.


The rivalry was ethnic as well as political: Emmerson Mnangagwa drew his support from members of his ethnic group, the Karanga, while Mujuru's supporters were largely Zezuru.


In 2005, Emmerson 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.


Emmerson Mnangagwa said that he had no knowledge of the plot, and called it "stupid".


Emmerson Mnangagwa 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.


Emmerson Mnangagwa was Mugabe's chief election agent during the 2008 presidential election, and headed Mugabe's campaign behind the scenes.


Emmerson 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".


Masunungure described Emmerson Mnangagwa's move from being minister of defence to becoming minister of justice as a "significant blow, though the justice ministry is quite important".


Emmerson Mnangagwa's appointment followed the dismissal of Mnangagwa's long-time opponent in the succession rivalry, Joice Mujuru, who was cast into the political wilderness amidst allegations that she had plotted against Mugabe.


Emmerson Mnangagwa admitted he was not sure how the President would react to the allegations against Mujuru, but said he was satisfied with the outcome.


Emmerson Mnangagwa added that he had not known he was going to be named vice-president until Mugabe announced it.


Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as vice-president on 12 December 2014, while retaining his post as Minister of Justice.


On 11 January 2016, Emmerson Mnangagwa became acting president while Mugabe was on his yearly vacation.


Emmerson Mnangagwa took over in this role from Second Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, who had been acting president when Mugabe last went on vacation on 24 December 2015.


The decision to have Emmerson Mnangagwa serve as acting president seemed to rebut rumors that Mugabe favoured Mphoko over Emmerson Mnangagwa.


Emmerson Mnangagwa helped negotiate trade deals with BRICS members Russia, China, and South Africa.


In July 2016, Emmerson Mnangagwa visited China, where he met with business leaders as well as Communist Party leaders and government officials, including Vice President Li Yuanchao.


In 2016, Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that the Zimbabwean government would launch "Command Agriculture", an agricultural initiative backed by the African Development Bank.


The programme, which Emmerson 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.


Emmerson 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.


Emmerson Mnangagwa used his leadership of Zimbabwe's Anti-Corruption Commission to try to discredit G40 leaders by targeting them with highly publicized criminal investigations.


On 9 October 2017, President Mugabe announced a new cabinet in which Emmerson Mnangagwa, while maintaining the vice-presidency, lost his position as minister of justice to Happyton Bonyongwe, the country's spymaster.


Emmerson Mnangagwa had been accused of undermining the president's authority and of plotting to take control of key government institutions.


Emmerson Mnangagwa's removal was supported by Grace Mugabe and her G40 faction, and was a blow to the influence of the Lacoste faction, the military establishment, and the War Veterans Association, which formed Mnangagwa's base of support.


On 8 November 2017, two days after his dismissal as vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa fled Zimbabwe, first to Mozambique and then to South Africa, to escape what he called "incessant threats" against him and his family.


Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was in South Africa at the time, was chosen as the party's new leader, and was expected to soon become president.


The ZBC confirmed that Emmerson Mnangagwa would be sworn in on 24 November 2017.


The day before his inauguration, Emmerson Mnangagwa urged his followers not to seek "vengeful retribution" against his political enemies, after calls emerged from his supporters to attack the Generation 40 faction.


Emmerson 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.


Emmerson Mnangagwa distanced himself from President Mugabe by promising to "reengage with the world", but paid tribute to his predecessor, praising him as "a father, mentor, comrade in arms, and my leader".


Emmerson Mnangagwa said that Mugabe's post-2000 land reform programmes would be maintained, but that white farmers would be compensated for their seized land.


Ahead of the 2018 general election, Emmerson Mnangagwa held a public meeting for an audience of white Zimbabweans in Borrowdale, Harare in which he was seen to concede that many white farms which had been seized under land reform programs had gone to government officials, soldiers and tribal chiefs who did not know much about farming, before asking whites to work with his government.


On 18 January 2018, Emmerson 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, Emmerson 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, Emmerson Mnangagwa dissolved the Cabinet of Zimbabwe and appointed only two acting ministers.


On 6 December 2017, Emmerson 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.


Emmerson Mnangagwa stated that claims of misconduct by the security forces would be investigated.


Emmerson Mnangagwa believes that the national resources should be protected by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.


Emmerson Mnangagwa has been married twice and has nine children and more than a dozen grandchildren.


Emmerson Mnangagwa's first wife, Jayne Matarise, was a cousin of ZANLA commander Josiah Tongogara.


Emmerson Mnangagwa's first two daughters, Farai and Tasiwa, were born in Zambia during the Bush War period.


When Emmerson Mnangagwa joined the ZANU leadership in Mozambique, Jayne initially remained in Zambia with the children, but later joined him there.


Jayne Emmerson Mnangagwa died on 31 January 2002 of cervical cancer.


Emmerson Mnangagwa did not run for reelection in the 2018 election, citing her desire to focus on her role as First Lady.


Emmerson Mnangagwa's 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.


Emmerson Mnangagwa's youngest and only son with Jayne Matarise, Emmerson Tanaka, is a musician and DJ known professionally as St Emmo.