According to a report in the weekly private publication, The Independent, former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa escaped from the country in a scene reminiscent of a James Bond movie. The paper reports that as soon as he received his dismissal letter, Mnangagwa knew that he no longer had any protection and tried to escape from the country as soon as possible. The original plan was to leave on the pretence that he was seeking medical attention, and had a letter drafted from him by one of the military commanders.
However, his plans to leave the country using aeroplanes was scuppered when two separate groups refused to aid him. Permission was also denied forcing Mnangagwa to drive to Forbes Border Post as had been previously reported. He was prevented from leaving there by the police and immigration officials and only managed to escape via Marymount border control post, after negotiating with soldiers from 3 Brigade.
Sources who spoke to The Independent said:
A senior army commander called Dr Jasper Chimedza, a military doctor in private practice, was asked to write a letter for Mnangagwa to seek medical attention in South Africa as a way of facilitating his emergency exit
…First to facilitate his exit, Mnangagwa contacted the Moti family to use their private jet, which was parked at the Harare International Airport, to fly out to Johannesburg, but they refused to give him the aircraft, saying they did not want to be entangled in Zimbabwean politics as they are only in the country for business.
As an alternative, Mnangagwa’s lingering protocol then went to Fly HAC (Halsteds Aviation Corporation) Zimbabwe, a local air charter service, to arrange for a flight for emergency evacuation.
Fly HAC, however, demanded to see the doctor’s letter. They also demanded that the patient be examined by their own doctors to ascertain the nature of the illness and determine the urgency of the issue, but Mnangagwa did not present himself.
Mnangagwa’s associates had already contacted officials at Manyame Air Force Base to secure special and urgent authorisation for the private jet to leave, but permission was denied.
At the point, plan B then kicked in. This involved driving to Forbes Border Post en route to Beira. It is understood Mnangagwa set off for the eastern border post soon after midnight in a convoy of cars. By that time officials manning border posts countrywide were on high alert after being informed of Mnangagwa’s escape plans.
…After that, they fled and approached Marymount border control post, which is manned by soldiers from 3 Brigade. That is where he negotiated and left
Apart from being searched for political reasons, police had been tipped off that Mnangagwa could attempt to move out large sums of money and precious minerals like gold out of the country. Upon arrival in Mozambique, he got into a private jet and left for Johannesburg. He feared for his life and also wanted to take out his valuables.