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5 things to know about Emmerson Mnangagwa, soon to be Zimbabwe’s new leader

Protesters demanding President Robert Mugabe stand down, look up and cheer as an army helicopter flies over the crowd, as they gather in front of an army cordon on the road leading to State House in Harare, Zimbabwe on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. (Belal Khaled/NurPhoto/Sipa USA/TNS)
November 22, 2017

State media say that Emmerson Mnangagwa will be sworn in as Zimbabwe’s new president on Friday after the fall of Robert Mugabe, who resigned on Tuesday after governing the country for 37 years.

Here are 5 things to know about Mnangagwa.

Born in 1942

Mnangagwa, 75, a member of the country’s dominant Shona tribe, was born in 1942, in Zvishavane, central Zimbabwe. His name is pronounced Mn-uh-ng-ug-wa. He was fired as vice president by Mugabe — who accused him of plotting to take over from him — on November 6 and fled the country

Mugabe ally

A former justice and defense minister, Mnangagwa was an ally of Mugabe for around 50 years, from the days of the pre-independence liberation struggle.

‘The crocodile’

Mnangagwa served as Mugabe’s enforcer, earning him the nickname ‘the crocodile” for his ruthlessness. His supporters are known as Team Lacoste because of the fashion brand’s reptilian logo.

Struggle veteran

He joined the fight against minority white rule while still a teenager and was convicted of blowing up a train in 1965 and sentenced to death by hanging. When he was found to be under 21, he was instead sentenced to 10 years in prison and jailed with contemporaries including Mugabe.

Human rights abuses

Opposition supporters believe Mnangagwa was instrumental in the killings of tens of thousands of civilians from the Ndebele ethnic minority in the early 1980s as Mugabe moved to quash opposition.


© 2017 USA Today

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