Mnangagwa, said Wednesday he had fled the country, as he issued a direct challenge to long-ruling President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace.
The ruling ZANU-PF party “is not personal property for you and your wife to do as you please,” Mnangagwa said in an angry five-page statement, vowing he would return to Zimbabwe to lead party members.
China’s President Xi Jinping provided the soft landing for embattled Mnangagwa, said the officer who refused to be named. He said that Mnangagwa deal has been negotiated by his top ally, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa who served in the People’s Republic of China as ambassador in 2002.
Mutsvangwa said Mnangagwa was safe and en route to South Africa during a media briefing.
It is not clear whether the Mnangagwa met Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) general Constantino Chiwenga who is in the country on government business.
Last year the Independent Newspaper reported that Robert Mugabe was angry with Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa over his trip to China in 2015 in which his deputy came out of high-level meetings acting like someone who has embraced Beijing’s push for leadership renewal in Harare and trying to sound like renowned reformist Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping.