Robert Mugabe has forgiven Emmerson Mnangagwa, the man who threw him out of power last year, and says that the new president is the right man to rule Zimbabwe.
Mr Mugabe, 94, on Thursday said: “There was an election. Zanu-PF was represented by Emmerson Mnangagwa and [Nelson] Chamisa represented MDC-Alliance and results came out saying the person who won was Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“We have accepted the result and we hope that we will continue respecting the will of the people. The gun does not and should not lead politics.”
He added that he was grateful Mr Mnangagwa, 75, had hired a luxury aircraft to take his wife Grace from Singapore to Harare for the funeral of her mother, Idah Marufu, who died last week.
His remarks were markedly different to those he made just six weeks ago, on the eve of the first election since he was ousted, when Mr Mugabe said he would vote for the opposition candidate and that he had not trusted Mr Mnangagwa since they began their political relationship more then 50 years ago.
He also previously complained that he was short of money since the soft coup d’etat last November put him and his family under house arrest within their vast estate in Harare’s northern suburbs.
Mr Mugabe claimed he lacked funds to repair the roof of his Chinese-style mansion and needed to move house.
Mrs Mugabe, who lead the campaign within Zanu-PF against Mr Mnangagwa to prevent him from becoming her husband’s successor, this week gushed: “He [Mnangagwa] loves us. He knows we we love him too. We pray for him because it’s God’s will that he is president. We pray that he be given the wisdom to lead the country.”
Mr Mnangagwa fled to Mozambique after he was sacked as vice president last October following months of humiliations when he was criticised at rallies by Mrs Mugabe, often when he was sitting in the front row.
Grace Mugabe | A life in controversies
Grace Mugabe married Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe in 1996, after working as his secretary. She quickly rose through the ranks of the ruling Zanu-PF party, becoming head of the Women’s League and a member of its 49-person Politburo.
Arguably the biggest scandal during her political career was her spending. Acquiring the nickname “Gucci Grace”, Mrs Mugabe became legendary for international shopping trips including to London’s Harrods, and reportedly once spent £40,000 in an afternoon in the city.
Mrs Mugabe shrugged off accusations of extravagance, saying that she went to the luxury shop to buy almonds in a bid to eat healthily.
Her overseeing of two lavish palaces being built in Zimbabwe, where 76 per cent of rural households live on less than $1.25 per day, was also derided.
Eyebrows were again raised in 2014 when Mrs Mugabe was awarded doctoral degree in sociology only two months after enrolling.
Allegations of violence have also dogged Mrs Mugabe, with The Times in 2009 reporting that she beat up a photographer with the assistance of her bodyguards when in Hong Kong.
In 2017, a young woman alleged that Mrs Mugabe beat her with an electric cable in a hotel room in Johannesburg. Mrs Mugabe denied the attack.
Months earlier the armed forces airlifted him to hospital in South Africa because he said he was poisoned at a rally he attended with the Mugabes.
In June this year, a grenade exploded at a rally addressed by Mr Mnangagwa, killing two security aides and injuring Kembo Mohadi Kembo, vice president, and Oppah Muchinguru-Kashiri, a cabinet minister.
Many of Mr Mugabe’s supporters encouraged voters to support the opposition MDC Alliance and Mr Chamisa at elections on July 30. The elections went off peacefully but the army opened fire at an anti-Mnangagwa demonstration the next day and killed six people.
Now Mr Mugabe, who was in power for 38 years, says that Mr Mnangagwa won the elections and the results were confirmed by the constitutional court two weeks ago.
Mr Mnangagwa appointed his cabinet Friday and included Olympic star, Kirsty Coventry, a white swimmer, as his sports minister, while ignoring most of those previously favoured by Mr Mugabe.
First Published by The Telegraph