Zimbabwe’s leader Emmerson Mnangagwa has offered “tips” on how to become president that include surviving a bout of poisoning and skipping the country in fear of your life.
The 75-year-old president was speaking to Zimbabweans living in Namibia, which he visited on Monday.
In the light-hearted comments Mnangagwa made it clear that aiming for the top job can be hard, if not life-threatening.
First you need to be poisoned and you need to survive the poisoning. Next, you need to become a border jumper. Thirdly, you need people like (Sibusiso) Moyo somewhere
“First you need to be poisoned and you need to survive the poisoning,” Mnangagwa said, in quotes carried by the state-run Herald. “Next, you need to become a border jumper. Thirdly, you need people like (Sibusiso) Moyo somewhere,” he added.
The tips received mixed reactions on social media, with some applauding the president’s humour while others criticised the light hearted approach to an issue that often taints African politics.
Be friends with army generals— Byron Maravanyika (@Bryeeravaz) January 17, 2018
— Sir-Ernest Maengamhuru (sir_ernest2) January 17, 2018
edmnangagwaafter retirement you shld consider writing a book about this ordeal. Asante sana✊
Poisoning must stop and I hope the #President_Crocodile will setup a commission to stop this. He must not just preach but take action against it— Johnny_SD (@rise_johnny) January 17, 2018
Why am I not laughing? It’s the kind of ‘humor’, which clearly promotes and confirms discriminating views on how ‘Africans’ handle government matters. – It’s not funny at all! – But maybe Trump would laugh?! Just wondering… https://t.co/HLJpDJgQli— Henning Melber (@HenningMelber) January 17, 2018
Mnangagwa suffered poisoning at a rally organised in support of former president Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace in August.
Mnangagwa’s supporters said at the time he had been deliberately poisoned by ice-cream from Grace Mugabe’s dairy, a claim that infuriated the former first family.
After Mnangagwa was sacked by Mugabe on November 6, the former vice president skipped the country to neighbouring Mozambique, partly on foot and was ridiculed as a border jumper by Grace Mugabe’s political allies.
Mnangagwa, who claimed there had been plans to eliminate him in Zimbabwe, later flew to South Africa, where he stayed until his return to Harare to take over the reins of power from Mugabe.
The president’s reference to Sibusiso Moyo, who is now the foreign minister, refers to Moyo’s now-famous role as the army officer who announced the military takeover on state ZBC TV on November 15. Moyo told Zimbabweans at the time that the army was only targeting “criminals” around Mugabe, who stepped down a week later.