So who is Mnangagwa?
He was involved in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe rebellion from the time he was a teenager. He rose through the rebellion as Mugabe’s bodyguard and then through the Zimbabwe regime as his intelligence chief and enforcer. He received his training in the dark arts of political repression in China in the era of Mao. His nickname is “the Crocodile.”
Once Mugabe took over Zimbabwe, Mnangagwa orchestrated a campaign known as Gukurahundi, which involved the massacre of tens of thousands of members of the Ndebele ethnic group, in order to destroy the power base of Mugabe’s main rival, Joshua Nkomo, a Ndebele (Mugabe and Mnangagwa are Shona). The massacres, which lasted for several years, were carried out by Zimbabwe’s North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade, notorious for its brutality, and overseen by Mnangagwa as head of the country’s spy and domestic enforcement apparatus. (Mnangagwa denies this, something absolutely nobody believes.) During Gukurahundi, victims were reportedly made to dance over the corpses of their loved ones while singing songs of praise to the government.