The Crocodile bites back: Deposed vice-president who has seized power from Mugabe is a London-educated former spymaster ‘who orchestrated 1980s massacre of 20,000 opponents’

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
By Paul Martin

Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, has had a long and varied political career in country
Feared in Zimbabwe as a brutal spymaster who suppressed opponents in 1980s
‘Crocodile’ has been chief of the justice, defence, housing and finance ministries
He got his nickname after leading the ‘Crocodile Group’ fighters in the civil war

15 November 2017

The man believed to be behind the coup in Zimbabwe is the country’s recently sacked vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa – also known as ‘The Crocodile’.

Mnangagwa, 75, is a notorious and much-feared figure in Zimbabwe, having led a vicious crackdown on opponents in the 1980s with the help of the dreaded North Korean-trained Fifth Army brigade.

Thousands of civilians were killed during the Gukurahundi campaign, but Mnangagwa has always denied involvement.
His reputation for cruelty is so legendary that he was one of the few leaders of Zimbabwe known to drive around the country without security.

He is also known for his unpredictable darting eyes.

He has had a long and varied political career, leading at one point the justice, defence, housing and finance ministries as well as being the speaker of the lower house and a spymaster.

Mnangagwa was widely viewed as Mugabe’s successor until he was ditched by the president last week and fled to South Africa.

Mugabe had accused his former deputy of plotting to take power from him, while his ambitious wife Grace referred to him as a snake that ‘must be hit on the head’ after the two clashed.

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