VICE-PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday broke his silence over his alleged food poisoning saga, saying contrary to speculation, his falling ill at a Zanu PF campaign rally in Gwanda three weeks ago had nothing to do with ice-cream from President Robert Mugabe’s Gushungo Dairy.
BY STAFF REPORTER
Mnangagwa, in a statement last night, described as false and mischievous, insinuations that he fell sick after eating ice-cream supplied by the First Family, adding the claims were meant to set him up against Mugabe.
“I would like to put the record straight regarding my alleged consumption of ice-cream from Gushungo Dairy at the high table on the occasion of the youth interface rally at Phelandaba Stadium in Gwanda, Matabeleland South province, on August 12, 2017,” he said.
“The insinuation that I partook of ice-cream from the said dairy is false and mischievous, and being peddled by unscrupulous elements with the sinister agenda of creating a rift between me and the First Family, lower market confidence in products from the dairy and cause unnecessary alarm and despondency among peace-loving Zimbabweans.”
The statement came hours amid reports that the Vice-President and his South African doctor had presented Mnangagwa’s medical report to Mugabe earlier yesterday.
The statement also came a few hours before Mugabe is set to address another campaign rally in Mnangagwa’s, Midlands province backyard.
Mugabe did not take kindly to allegations that Mnangagwa might have fallen ill due to having ice-cream from his company, as he spoke about the issue at the Heroes Acre last Saturday.
Following the poisoning scare, where he left the rally abruptly after a bout of diarrhoea and vomiting, Mnangagwa was initially airlifted to Gweru and later to South Africa, where, according to sources, he underwent minor surgery to remove traces of the poison.
After his return last week, Mnangagwa kept a low profile until he resurfaced at the funeral wake of the late Vice-President Simon Muzenda’s wife, Maud, where he thanked God for sparing his life following the poisoning saga.
Mnangagwa, who turns 75 next month, is touted as a possible successor to Mugabe, and his supporters believe he was poisoned by his rivals in an assassination attempt to eliminate him from the race.
But government officials have insisted that his stomach could have been upset by stale food he ate.
Mugabe told mourners at the Heroes Acre that Mnangagwa’s health was not yet permitting him to attend public and national events.
The poisoning saga came following 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 six times in the past years, but the perpetrators were yet to be identified and arrested.
In 2014, his Justice ministry 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 life.
No suspects have been arrested over the incidents.