Emmerson Mnangagwa, the recently elected president and first secretary of Zanu-PF, is a political cat with the proverbial nine lives. A lawyer by training, he became Robert Mugabe’s personal assistant during the liberation struggle in the 1970s and has been a fixture in Zimbabwe politics since independence from Britain in 1980. Mnangagwa, now 73, shot to prominence when he was appointed state security minister in 1980, aged 33. He is credited with creating Mugabe’s dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation and is associated with the 1985 Matabeleland massacre of Zanu’s opponents, which he denies. Mnangagwa, who escaped the gallows for an act of sabotage in Rhodesia because he was under 17, went on to become chairman of the Joint High Command after Gen Peter Walls was dismissed. He oversaw the integration of the Zanla and Zipra guerrilla wings and the Rhodesian Army. From 1988 to 2000, he served as justice, legal & parliamentary affairs minister and leader of the house. He was an act...

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