FRESH details have emerged that South African doctors — who performed a minor surgery on Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa (pictured) last Wednesday — reportedly detected traces of palladium poison which had partly damaged part of his liver, NewsDay has learnt.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
The latest information was revealed on Mnangagwa’s return after he was airlifted to South Africa, following a food poisoning scare at a Zanu PF youth interface rally in Gwanda on August 11.
Highly-placed sources close to Mnangagwa told NewsDay at the weekend, that South African doctors discovered that the Vice-President consumed non-radioactive poison which could require a systems flush out over the next two months.
“The VP ingested potent, non-radioactive poison which has low quality palladium substances which caused minor liver damage and he had to undergo surgery last Wednesday,” the source said.
Mnangagwa, tipped to succeed President Robert Mugabe, was believed to have been poisoned by his Zanu PF rivals as the succession issue turns nasty.
Zanu PF has two distinct factions —Team Lacoste which is reportedly sympathetic to Mnangagwa and the G40 whose kingpins were reportedly Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and party commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, which is rooting for First Lady Grace Mugabe to take over from her ailing 93-year-old husband.
The Vice-President was airlifted to South Africa following a severe bout of abdominal discomfort, vomiting and diarrhoea as his allies strongly suspected that he had been poisoned in the succession fights.
But, Information minister Christopher Mushohwe ruled out the “poisoning” narrative, saying Mnangagwa could have been upset by “stale food”.
“What the doctors think happened is that perhaps he ate some stale food, which then means it is really not poison in the sense that the people are trying to allege,” Mushohwe said at the weekend.
“I don’t know about that palladium, go to your sources, our official statement stands.”
Mushohwe refused to explain why Mnangagwa would be flown to South Africa for treatment due to contamination through eating stale food.
The latest incident came following a series of incidents where Mnangagwa has been publicly chided by Grace and some women’s league officials, who accused him of plotting to unseat Mugabe.
It also followed a chain of events which has blighted Mnangagwa’s political path from the time he was appointed Vice-President in 2014.
Mnangagwa’s offices — despite having high profile security — have been broken into a record six times, in the past years but the perpetrators are yet to be nabbed.
In 2014, his Justice ministry’s office was broken into by unknown persons, and again, shortly before Mnangagwa was appointed Vice-President.
In another incident, cyanide was allegedly sprinkled in his Zanu PF headquarters office, leaving his private secretary battling for her life.
Police then set up a special task force to investigate the mysterious break-ins and attempt to poison Mnangagwa but the findings were never made public.
Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, could not shed light on what the investigations have yielded so far.
“I am not yet aware of the update on the investigations. I will have to find out,” she said.
Mnangagwa in 2014 also escaped unhurt after being involved in a road accident along Herbert Chitepo Avenue in Harare near the US Embassy.
Then Justice Minister, Mnangagwa was reportedly driving alone when a minibus crashed into his Mercedes Benz vehicle.