Minister of Defence Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has made a startling confession, that he was taught to destroy and kill, but in the same breath immediately said he had turned a new leaf and had found comfort in the arms of God.
Mnangagwa, one of the most shrewd politicians in Zimbabwe who is referred to by those that know him well as Ngwena (the Crocodile), told mourners at his brother’s burial on Monday that he had turned to Jesus and changed, from being a destroyer to a man of God.
“For those of us comrades who were taught to destroy and kill and have seen the light in the last days of our lives, and will die in Christ, our rewards are in heaven,” Mnangagwa told mourners at the burial whose master of ceremony was former Midlands governor July Moyo.
The Minister of Defence buried his brother Albert at Brandford farm in Kwekwe although the deceased had been declared a provincial hero and was supposed to be buried at the Gweru Provincial Heroes’ Acre.
Mnangagwa, once touted a presidential candidate in the Zanu PF’s succession matrix, says he is now a born-again Christian and has of late preached the Word of God with passion.
At the burial, Ngwena opened the Bible and preached from Proverbs, with such intensity mourners were left confused that such a man could be linked to the brutal political violence that his party was widely accused of in the bloody 2008 elections.
Even as he preached, partners in the inclusive government were accusing him of deploying army personnel in various provinces ahead of what is feared to be another violence-ridden election touted for mid-next year.
But Mnangagwa maintains he is a gentleman as “soft as wool”.
“I am a gentleman and have found favour in the eyes of God because I have accepted Him with all my heart,” said Mnangagwa, who throughout his speech did not make any reference to his party’s political nemesis, the MDC-T, whose officials were conspicuous by their absence.
Meanwhile, a military helicopter landed at the late Albert’s farm to dispatch top service chiefs who came to pay their last respects to Mnangagwa’s brother.
Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, general Constantine Chiwenga, Air Chief Marshal Perence Shiri and other army generals accompanied State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi in the helicopter.
Other top Zanu PF politicians who attended the funeral include former Masvingo governor Josaya Hungwe, former ambassador to China Chris Mutsvangwa and Zanu PF Midlands provincial chairman and Midlands Governor Jason Machaya.