President Emmerson Mnangagwa celebrated his 81st birthday yesterday where a buoyant dinner was organized by his wife, Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa and their family at State House.
The event was attended by his two Vice Presidents, Dr Constantino Chiwenga and Kemble Mohadi together with all cabinet ministers, senior government and party officials. Diplomats from different countries also graced the auspicious event.
The President was showered by gifts which include an all expenses paid 24hour fishing trip voucher from his sons, an extravagant cake from his daughters in law and some presents from government officials and the ruling party.
In His speech, President Mnangagwa said he was grateful to have an event organized in his honor.
“I am happy and pleased about the conspiracy by my wife and the children for organizing the dinner. I feel humbled by the number of people that came to celebrate with me, it makes me feel special. I was not born in a hospital, but in a hut on the floor. My grandfather was told a boy had been born and he ran into the house breaking custom that a man would enter the house where women give birth.”
“God has been very kind to me because most of my colleagues are gone, but I’m still here. I had a taste of death several times including recently in Gwanda, I want to give credit to Vice President Chiwenga, him and the first lady were able to rush me to hospital in South Africa and I survived,” His Excellency President E.D. Mnangagwa said.
About President Mnangagwa
President Emmerson Mnangagwa celebrated his 81st birthday shortly after securing an electoral victory on the recently held elections. Let’s look at his life history.
He was born 81 years ago in Zvishavane to peasant farmers Mafidi Mnangagwa and Mhurai. Mafidi the father was a son to Mubengo / Kushanduka a fighter who served under the Mzilikhazi regiment. The grandfather Mubengo gave his grandson a Ndebele name Nhlupeko which the father changed to vernacular and named him Dambudzo.
According to President ED Mnangagwa’s narration, he named himself Emmerson after he read a book with a character Emmerson. While at Hodgson college in Zambia, he was involved in student politics and was a member of the United National Independence Party (UNIP) Youth league structures as early as 1959.
Together with fellow youth members they protested against colonial administration and were expelled from school.
He worked at the UNIP Headquarters in Zambia Lusaka where Zimbabwe nationalists frequented. Since he was the only UNIP member who could speak shona, chichewa and english he became a go between ZAPU officials from Zimbabwe and UNIP officials. One of ZAPU leaders whom he interfaced with was the late Willie Musarurwa who recruited the then young ED to join ZAPU.
ZAPU organized military training for the new recruits briefly at Iringa in Tanzania and Egypt. While in Egypt, back home in Zimbabwe there were contradictions in the nationalist ZAPU resulting in the formation of splinter group under the leadership of Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole. The group of students in Egypt also split into two groups with some supporting the leadership of Dr Nkomo and the other group fully supporting the new splinter group.
President Mnangagwa supported the newly formed ZANU. They returned from Egypt and proceeded for another military training in China under ZANU. On their return they were deployed in different areas of Rhodesia to conduct sabotage missions against the racist colonial administration. Unfortunately President ED was betrayed by some of his colleagues and escaped death sentence due to young age. Instead he was sentenced to 10 years in prison as a D class.
He utilised his time in prison to further his studies through distance learning. He served at khami prison in solitary confinement. Upon his release he went to independent Zambia where he stayed with the Cde Tongogara and eventually ended up in Mozambique where he was elected Special Assistant and to the late RG Mugabe.He was also responsible for Intelligence and Security.
Post Independence, he occupied many positions in government from State Security, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Acting Minister of Finance, Speaker of Parliament, Rural, Housing and Social Amenities, Defense, Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. He is a veteran of Zimbabwe’s politics, a master of statecraft, a polished leader.
With this history, it will be foolhardy for anyone to underestimate this grandmaster of Zimbabwe’s politics. Those who want to lead should take a queue from this decorated veteran who started his political journey in 1959 and only became President decades later.