An analysis of the press statement issued by VP Mphoko on Mnangagwa ‘poisoning’ saga

By Diana Muvhengo

The press statement issued by Vice President Mphoko as published in the Herald on 5 October 2017 is not only inappropriate but begs the question ‘Why is Mphoko so keen on attacking Mnangagwa, and so quick to defend the narrative that he was not poisoned?’

Mphoko, Chinamasa and Mnangagwa seen together in this file picture

This article’s objective is to highlight the weakness, inaccuracy and deliberate misconception created by the statement.  The excerpt below from the statement will form the basis of this  article’s interrogation.

“VP Mnangagwa told an emotionally charged memorial service for Cde Mahofa in Gutu that what happened to her in 2015 in Victoria Falls, is also what happened to him on August 12 in Gwanda. Contrary to his statement, his medical doctor, while briefing President Robert Mugabe in the presence of Mnangagwa, confirmed that Vice President was not poisoned.”

First of all, Vice President Mnangagwa did not mention anything to do with poisoning. He said that ‘What happened to Mahofa is what happened to me’.  There is no official position as to what happened to Mahofa. Mphoko is quick to rush to conclude that both were poisoned. Maybe he knows something we don’t know.

Secondly, Vice President Mnangagwa’s admission that ‘what happened to Mahofa is what happened to me’ is not contradictory to what his doctor, nor the President said at the Midlands Presidential Youth Interface Rally on 1 September  2017.

If one recalls, the words used by President Mugabe were ‘there was no FOOD POISONING’.  The President went to great lengths to explain the causes of food poisoning and how the doctor in South Africa narrated how blood tests taken, proved there was no trace of food poisoning. Watch the link below:

Food poisoning is illness caused by bacteria or other toxins in food and the most common symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea. Salmonela is an example of bacteria in the gut that  can cause food poisoning. However, there is other types of such as synthetic or manufactured, and chemical  poison, which can cause great harm to organs and ultimately lead to death. 

The doctor, according to President Mugabe, was categorical in that there was no FOOD POISONING but that there was need for further research to find what caused VP Mnangagwa to vomit uncontrollably, to the point of weakness. Food poisoning would not have casued VP Mnangagwa to drift in and out of consciousness. Food poisoning would not need the VP to tracel to South Africa for specialist attention. The VP’s immediate family was by his side through out the ordeal, from Gwanda hospital to the hospital in South Africa.

The President confirmed that “we nearly lost him” and went on to say there was still a question to be answered. What caused the VP’s close shave with death.

Going back to VP Mnangagwa’s speech in Gutu, he is quoted to have said  “ God saved him and it was not his time to die” and more pertinently, that “the truth of what happened to him will come out at the right time”.

The Vice President attributes his recovery to God. When one has a close shave with death, one becomes a lot more aware of their mortality. To trivialize  this experience as a result of food poisoning (which is very common), is nothing short of immoral.

Mphoko’s statement goes on to say,

“It will be recalled that on the eve of the Midlands  Presidential Youth Interface Rally held in Gweru on 1 September 2017, Vice President Mnangagwa issued a statement categorically stating that he did not eat any ice cream in Gwanda . This was after widespread false claims that he had been poisoned after allegedly eating ice cream from Gushungo Dairy”.

If the point of including the above paragragh in the statement is to highlight Vice President Mnangagwa’s inconsistency, unfortunately it does the exact opposite. The Vice President was right in releasing that statement that,

  1) he did not eat ice cream and;

 2) it did not cause poisoning.

At no time at all did the Honourable Vice President claim that he ate ice cream nor that it caused his vomiting. That narrative was birthed in the hype of social media speculation.

The statement continues….

“ Mnangagwa’s latest claim that he was poisoned in Gwanda cannot go unchallenged not least because everyone can see that it is a calculated-after-thought- challenge to President Mugabe’s public account that Mnangagwa’s medical doctor ruled out poisoning as the cause of Mnangagwa’s traumatizing vomiting and diarrhoea in Gwanda”.

Herein lies the true intent of the so called press statement: to accuse Vice President Mnangagwa of undermining the President so as to give grounds to dismiss him or protest against him. It is no secret that G40, which was created by Saviour Kasukuwere, as revealed by President Mugabe at the Bindura Presidential Youth Interface Rally, is determined to eliminate Honourable Vice President Mnangagwa for its own political gains,at whatever cost. The political attacks on Vice President Mnangagwa have been consistant from the time he was appointed to that position.

President Mugabe also revealed that Jonathan Moyo has openly admitted that he ‘would never support Mnangagwa’ and that he had a personal vendetta with him. The ‘learned’ professor has made it his mission to attack Mnangagwa at every opportunity on twitter despite the President’s call to desisit taking ZANU PF issues to social media.

As for VP Mphoko, he has openly taken sides with G40 by standing by Kasukuwere when all provinces passed a vote of no confidence on the Commissar, and he has defended Jonathan Moyo by attacking the Anti-Corruption Commission.

Ironically, it is the statement by Vice President Mphoko that is inciting ‘ethnic tensions, instability and undermining the authority of the President’. For someone who has presidential ambition, he has failed to interpret a simple fact: FOOD POISONING is what was ruled out, nothing else.  

Diana Muvhengo, Political Analyst, BSocSci. (UK)