HARARE – In a surprising turn of events, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has extended an invitation for former Zanu PF politician Mandi Chimene to return to Zimbabwe. This invitation was extended during a meeting in Mozambique, facilitated by the country’s President, Filipe Nyusi.
Mandi Chimene, a prominent figure within the Zanu PF’s Generation 40 (G40) faction, fled to Mozambique in November 2017 following the military’s removal of then-President Robert Mugabe and Mnangagwa’s subsequent rise to power. Her departure was amidst political upheaval that saw shifts in the country’s leadership dynamics.
The meeting in Mozambique’s Manica province marks the first encounter between Mnangagwa and Chimene in six years. Known for his stern political stance, Mnangagwa’s invitation signals a potential thaw in relations with former rivals. “He said come back home, and I said I am coming,” Chimene recounted, speaking to state media.
Chimene, a former political heavyweight in Manicaland, explained her prolonged stay in Mozambique as being dedicated to assisting her uncles with farming projects, rather than seeking asylum. “I am here not because I am a refugee…I am in my uncles’ home,” she stated, clarifying her position and plans.
Despite her long absence and controversial past, Chimene denied taking sides in Zanu PF’s internal conflicts. She recounted her sudden departure in 2017, prompted by fears for her safety amidst the political turmoil in Zimbabwe.
This unexpected development comes as Mnangagwa visited Mozambique for the commissioning of the Machipanda railway line, underscoring the ongoing diplomatic and political ties between the two nations.