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Report: Poison Scare Hits Zimbabwe’s Ruling ZANU-PF Party




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(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party’s most powerful man after President Emmerson Mnangagwa was rushed to hospital following suspected poisoning at a party rally outside the capital.

Victor Matemadanda is the party’s National Political Commissar, a position that is responsible for determining fate of members, accepting or firing people as well as disciplining those that go against party protocol.

It is the second highest party position after the secretary post which is held by Mnangagwa, in terms of the party’s hierarchy.

Mnangagwa had just finished giving a speech and left the venue in Marondera when Matemadanda suddenly fell ill and was rushed to hospital.

Party acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa confirmed in a statement.

“Zanu-PF wishes to inform the party membership and the generality of the public that the National Political Commissar Cde Victor Matemadanda has been unwell since last Saturday, the 14th of November 2020. Cde Matemandanda’s sudden illness was accompanied by itchiness of eyes, sweating profusely, swelling of the body and vomiting badly, resulting in him rushing for medical attendance.

“He has since been attended to and is recovering well as other symptoms have disappeared except itchiness of eyes which is still persisting. Medical tests are being carried out and the doctors are examining the situation to establish what could have caused such illness. As such members of the public and the revolutionary party structures and membership in particular will be kept informed of the situation in due course,” said Chinamasa.

Such incidents are not new to the ruling party as President Mnangagwa survived a suspected poisoning in 2017 when he was still vice President to the former leader Robert Mugabe.

Mnangagwa had a severe bout of vomiting and diarrhoea during a Zanu-PF rally in Gwanda town and was eventually flown to South Africa’s Johannesburg for treatment.

There were claims that he had eaten ice cream supplied by the former First Family’s Gushungo Diary and it was widely believed as an attempt to kill him to pave way for Mugabe’s wife Grace who was a powerful party member then.

In June 2018 in the run up to the elections that were held in August of the same year, a grenade exploded at White City Stadium in Bulawayo just after Mnangagwa had given a speech in what was described as an attempt at his life.

At least 49 party members including the two vice presidents Costantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi as well as Engelbert Rugeje who was the party’s National Political Commissar, a post held by Matemadanda now, were injured.

Rugeje has been out of politics since the grenade bombing.

In the latest incident, Mnangagwa had just finished giving a speech and left the venue when Matemadanda was reportedly greeted by a stranger who approached the VIP table, greeted him and pretended to be removing something from his lap.

Matemadanda reportedly didn’t suspect any foul play but suddenly started became dizzy.

The stranger had left the table and no one recognized who it was, according to reports from sources closer to the issue.

He was rushed to hospital where he is being treated.


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