Emmerson Mnangagwa and his wife Auxillia at the presidential inauguration ceremony in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe, yesterday. Mnangagwa was sworn-in as president after Robert Mugabe resigned on Tuesday. Pictures: Associated Press
HARARE – An unhinged Auxillia Mnangagwa ranted at a top army commander, at one point telling him to SHOOT President Emmerson Mnangagwa and spare her because she has children, she is heard on a sensational leaked audio.
The first lady was apparently unhappy at what she said were military moves to “spy” on her. She rails at a “Murombo” in a phone call, believed to be reference to Colonel Samson Murombo, the commander of the 1 Presidential Guard Infantry Battalion based at Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks (formerly KGVI Barracks), which is responsible for securing the President and State House.
The audio recording, posted on the internet, for the first time lays bare tensions between Mnangagwa and the military which secured him the presidency after overthrowing President Robert Mugabe in 2017, while also shining a light on the first lady’s explosive character which she has so far struggled to suppress in public but has been long whispered by aides.
ZimLive can also exclusively reveal that the relationship between Mnangagwa and his wife is almost “non-existent”, with Auxillia said to be fed up with his philandering ways after he recently impregnated a student at the Midlands State University.
This website heard accounts of how the first lady chased Mnangagwa through a maize field at their farm in Kwekwe after her moles in Mnangagwa’s camp tipped her off that he was entertaining a girlfriend at the farm.
She has also clashed with the Zanu PF leader over his long-term affair with an influential permanent secretary in a government ministry.
It is not known when and how the eight-minute audio was recorded, or how it was leaked.
“You’re spying on me,” the first lady says at Murombo, who’s not given a chance to respond throughout even as he pleads, “excuse me your excellency…”.
“Just tell me what you want from me because if I die, it would be you,” she thunders.
The first lady, a former Central Intelligence Organisation agent, accuses Murombo of using someone called Manjoro – believed to be a member of her security detail – to spy on her. She also complains about a “Mhlanga” that she says was deployed to her office to spy on her. Both men have recently been given new phones which she thinks are spying gadgets.
She railed: “You must waylay me on the road, I’m coming from Bulawayo. If you don’t, straight away I’m coming to your office and you can do what you want with me. You can’t deal with women like this… me and you will get even. I’m going to make a story about this.
“I’m coming to your office to sit there. What threat am I? To who? What threat do I have?
“You draw your confidence from the fact that you have a gun. I’m coming there and you can shoot me… if you don’t shoot me before I get there, we’ll kill each other in your office.”
The first lady then declares that “if it’s Mnangagwa you don’t want, just kill him… I don’t discuss politics, I don’t discuss military issues.”
Saying Murombo has an “ugly face”, the first lady accuses him of “trying to get to Mnangagwa through me”.
When Murombo asked if he would be afforded a chance to speak, she yelled back: “Get away!”
Later in the monologue, the first lady’s bravado turns to self-pity, admitting she’s “frightened”.
“I’m just a mere woman, a grandmother. Go and shoot Mnangagwa, I ask for a pardon. Don’t shoot me because I’ve children. Just shoot Mnangagwa, because I know this is all about him. Just go and shoot him, why do you want to shoot me? What have I done? What threat do I pose to you Murombo? I don’t even know your wife. I’m coming to your office.”
It is not known if the first lady did go to Murombo’s office as per her threats.
Military sources last night told ZimLive that the first lady had no valid complaint on the recording because all government officials at ministerial level and above, including the President’s wife, had spies on their security detail.
Instead, they say she is unhappy that some senior military commanders have quietly withdrawn their loyalty to Mnangagwa over unfulfilled financial promises following Mugabe’s overthrow.
Mnangagwa has made several reshuffles of the military top brass, apparently to neutralise the threat posed by his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga, the former Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander who led the coup. Chiwenga is currently in a hospital in South Africa, battling failing health.
Such has been Mnangagwa’s paranoia that early this year, he changed his close security detail from the Presidential Guard (yellow berets) who had guarded him since the coup and replaced them with officers from the Air Force of Zimbabwe.
Murombo, the object of the first lady’s fury, was in charge of 2 Presidential Guard Infantry Battalion located in Dzivarasekwa at the time of the 2017 coup. But late last year, Mnangagwa appointed him to take charge of 1 Presidential Guard Infantry Battalion, in charge of State House and his own protection.
In an unusual move, Murombo demanded to move with his entire batallion, in a straight swap arrangement, apparently with Mnangagwa’s authorisation.
Colonel Never Jones Makuyana, the man he replaced, initially assumed the role of Mnangagwa’s aide-de-camp before being shifted. Regis Mangezi was promoted to colonel and handed charge of the Dzivarasekwa battalion.
Auxillia’s tantrums have echoes of Grace Mugabe, the former first lady, who regularly railed at military commanders accusing them of disloyalty to her husband, once claiming they had also hatched a plan to kill her son, Chatunga Bellarmine. She was mostly right.
Security sources who have dealt with Auxillia describe her as “a Grace Mugabe on steroids”, maintaining that her volatility is worse than the former first lady.
In May, she stormed the government drugs company NatPharm and demanded to see documents showing where they were sending drugs. She had been in Mashonaland Central and found clinics without drugs, she said.
She vowed not to leave the NatPharm warehouse “before they provide me with the current distribution list of the medicines they dispatched.”
Days later, Health Minister Obadiah Moyo appointed her an ambassador for the ministry in a bid to legitimise her interference.
Security sources also told of how Mnangagwa fell in love with an accounting student from the Midlands State University, who was on attachment at their farm in Kwekwe. She later fell pregnant, and they now have a child.
It took a while before the first lady was tipped-off over the affair.
A source said: “Once she was tipped-off, she followed Mnangagwa to the farm unannounced. It was a riot when she got there. People ran for cover, including her husband who ran through a maize field with her in hot pursuit.”
Sources say her marriage to Mnangagwa is “functional” but “there is no love”, with the two said to be “almost living apart”. The permanent secretary is now largely accepted as Mnangagwa’s second wife.
Auxillia is also not a favourite with her aides, who complain that she is abusive. Security officials describe how some of her security details, especially women, have been reduced to tears after she repeatedly criticised their dressing and demanded that they should change.
“Many went back to the office pleading to be transferred elsewhere. Let’s just say she’s not the nicest boss,” one security source said.