A biography of President Emmerson Mnangagwa released on Thursday sold copies worth US$755,700 on the day of release, his office announced.
This ranks high up with the record buy of a copy of former first lady Grace Mugabe’s book chronicling her life in pictures bought for US$50,000 by a local prophet, Walter Magaya, in 2015.
The 130-page new book, A life of Sacrifice: Emmerson Mnangagwa, retailing at $15 per copy was written by former MDC politician, Eddie Cross, who until last year served as one of Mnangagwa’s economic advisers at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
In a tweet, presidential spokesperson George Charamba said “the books are being bought for donation to schools and colleges”.
Here is a sneak peek into the buyers of the books who happened to be government officials and local business people.
1. Codes Scott Sakupwanya
He is a gold dealer popularly known as Scott. In 2020, he posted controversial pictures on social media with dozens of gold bars raising suspicions that he was a runner of top government officials.
Fidelity Printers and Refiners general manager Fradreck Kunaka later on had to exonerate Scott saying he was contributing immensely to gold deliveries at Fidelity.
The matter came to light a few days after Mnangagwa’s relative, Henrietta Rushwaya was arrested at Robert Mugabe International Airport trying to smuggle 6.09kgs of gold to Dubai.
Earlier this year, Scott who is also believed to be Mnangagwa’s sidekick faced arrest after his Better Brands Mining Company illegally snatched 132 gold mining blocks from Redwing Mine in Penhalonga in connivance with Redwing judicial manager, Cecil Madondo.
Mnangagwa appointed him last week into a committee that is supposed to raise US$140 million for Zanu PF campaign ahead of 2023 harmonised elections.
Scott was also a delegate at the launch of the book that narrates Mnangagwa’s biography.
2. Farai Jere
Jere is a Zimbabwe businessman and chairman of a local football club, CAPS United. He is currently in court facing US$3.5 million fraud charges jointly charged with his company, Helcraw Electrical, in an alleged conspiracy to supply smart meters without quality checks which has also sucked in two ZESA engineers Leonard Chisina and Kuziva Chikonzo.
Yesterday, he bought his own bundles of books in what appeared to be efforts to impress the Zanu PF boss.
3. John Mushayavanhu
He is the Group Chief Executive of FBC Holdings since June 2011. It is believed that Mushayavanhu is eying for the top Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) post currently occupied by John Panonetsa Mangudya whose term expires after three years.
While being the top leader, in May this year, the bank allegedly faced a lawsuit after it sent an emissary to try and bribe judge Justice Esther Mhazo Muremba hours before she was due to deliver her judgment. The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) confirmed this.
It is alleged that the bank delivered a gift bag to Justice Muremba on March 29, and when its representative was challenged, he claimed it was a “Christmas present.”
4. Alex Mashamhanda
Mashamhanda popularly known as Mashwede, is a prominent businessman who owns Mashwede Village which is under Mashwede Holdings.
He was one of the big funders of the MDC. At one point he was denied access to expand his business empire into Mbare, then a Zanu PF stronghold, because he was MDC.
He was at the State House buying “A life of Sacrifice”.
Observers believe that the businessman wanted to impress Mnangagwa in order to secure his businesses in Zimbabwe.
Present were Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, and Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira. They all bought their own books, exciting their boss.
6. Cabinet, Mnangagwa family
The cabinet was also there comprising Mnangagwa himself joined by his wife Auxillia and Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda.
The book was written by former Bulawayo South legislator, Eddie Cross and it was published by Jarach Media who were represented by Rachel Jambaya.
Basically less than 20 people splashed US$755,700 buying the controversial book of praise.
Speaking at the launch, Mnangagwa said he sacrificed for the country.
“Our nation is underpinned by continual sacrifices. What differs is the form and nature of sacrifice demanded of us at every development stage of our nation, and the circumstances that face and shape it.
“In our case, we had to pick up arms, suffer incarceration, suffer injuries, and even die to win back our freedoms and collective independence. We are a generation that bore arms and went to war, in the process making sacrifices.
“Today’s generation must make sacrifices for our nation. This is demanded of them to advance the new development epoch we are facing,” he said.
At the launch, author Cross sought to prop up the president’s image before 2023 elections.
“The president has set the country on a new trajectory of development and has given hope to the nation,” he said.
Cross added that he met American officials in a bid to convince them to give Mnangagwa a break. “Do you (Americans) appreciate two risks which this man you sanction took in 2018? One, giving this country the freest ever election this country ever had. Two, offering himself as a candidate in that election which he won fair and square,” he said. Then, looking at Mnangagwa, he said, “You won that election Mr President.”
The book seeks to tell the life story of Mnangagwa, which in most historical contexts has been riddled with inaccuracies and disputed historical narratives.
For the first time pictures of his late parents, Mafidhi and Mhurai Mnangagwa, are made public in the book. There’s also a picture of Mnangagwa in a graduation gown after finishing a law degree at the University of Zambia.
But some who have gone through the chapters of the book dismiss it as a hagiography.
The book does not address key issues such as Gukurahundi – a dark episode in Zimbabwe’s history that claimed 20,000 civilian lives. During the Gukurahundi era, 1981-1987, Mnangagwa was state security minister under the late Robert Mugabe.
Some critics accused the book of “falsehoods and silences”, particularly on the Second Congo War (DRC) in which Mnangagwa played a central role, his alleged inflated role in the liberation struggle and silence on the death of Solomon Mujuru, the first army commander in independent Zimbabwe and late husband to the first female vice-president Joyce Mujuru.
The book also called the November 2017 coup that brought him to power a “military assisted transition”.
Since the current administration came into power through the coup and winning a disputed election, it has been books galore. Vice-president Constantino Chiwenga has published Goose or Gander: The United Nations Security Council and the Ethic of Double Standards. Zanu-PF’s secretary for administration Dr Obert Mpofu, who played a pivotal part during the coup, also published his memoirs, On the shoulders of the struggle. □