Who is Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe's 'Crocodile'?

Who is Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe's 'Crocodile'?
From Al Jazeera - November 24, 2017

Harare, Zimbabwe - On Wednesday, two weeks after fleeing to South Africa, a beamingEmmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa emerged from his car to the thunderingchants of"Garwe! Garwe! Garwe!".

The roar only grew louder as the 75-year-old later took to the stage to address the cheering crowds.

"Today, we are witnessing the beginning of a new and unfolding democracy," he told the thousands who had gathered to welcome home the manthey believe can take Zimbabwe into a new era.

Popularly known as "Garwe", or crocodile in Shona, after his days as a member of the 1960s Crocodile Gang thatwaged anti-colonial resistance acts against the white minority regime of the time,Mnangagwa is set tobecome Zimbabwe's second leader and third president since independence in 1980.

Mnangagwa - also known as "Ngwena" (a totemic name for a crocodile) or "E.D.", after his initials - has long been seen as the man most likely to replace his mentor and Zimbabwe's longtime leader, Robert Mugabe.

But things took a different turn as factional battles within the ruling ZANU-PF party over Mugabe's succession pitted him, a vice president, against the president's wife, Grace.

On November 6, the internal power struggle led to the dismissal ofMnangagwa, whofled to South Africa for safety.

But in a sudden move, the military seized power on November 15 and placed 93-year-old Mugabe under house arrest at his Blue Roof Residence in Harare. As pressure grew, Mugabe finally resigned on Tuesday, putting an end to his reign of 37 years.

Great expectations

Mnangagwa's political shrewdness and ability to survive seemingly dire situations has seen him grow into his nickname.

Tales of his dramatic escape from Zimbabwe shortly after his firing as vice president could make for an action movie script, and have earned him wide popularity and sympathy among many Zimbabweans.

Many believe he represents change and could turn the country's fortunes around.

During his vice presidency, Mnangagwa introduced the Command Agriculture scheme, anAfrican Development Bank-backed programme designed to help communities become more self-sufficient.

Launched two years ago, the initiative is still in its infancy. But some analysts believe it has the potential to return Zimbabwe to its status as the breadbasket of the region.

As a prominent ZANU-PF official, Mnangagwabacked the seizures of white-owned commercial farms at the turn of the millennium.

However, in his home province of the Midlands he reportedly"secretly" protected some white farmers from being driven from their lands.

According to leaked intelligence reports reviewed by Reuters news agency, re-engaging white farmers could be one of the potential priorities in a post-Mugabe era.

"Mnangagwa realises he needs the white farmers on the land when he gets into powerhe will use the white farmers to resuscitate the agricultural industry, which he reckons is the backbone of the economy,"reads part of the report.

International relations

In his first public remarks since fleeing into exile for safety, Mnangagwa expressed keenness in reshaping Zimbabwe into a more inclusive nation across the lines of race and political affiliation.

Old guard


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