The President of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Emmerson Mnangagwa celebrates his 79th birthday today.
Mnangagwa was born in 1942 in Shabani, Southern Rhodesia, to a large Shona family.
His parents were farmers, and in the 1950s he and his family were forced to move to Northern Rhodesia because of his father’s political activism.
There he became active in anti-colonial politics, and in 1963 he joined the newly formed Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army, the militant wing of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).
He returned to Rhodesia in 1964 as leader of the “Crocodile Gang”, a group that attacked white-owned farms in the Eastern Highlands.
In 1965, he bombed a train near Fort Victoria (now Masvingo) and was imprisoned for ten years, after which he was released and deported to the recently independent Zambia. He studied law at the University of Zambia, and practiced as an attorney for two years before going to Mozambique to rejoin ZANU.
There he was assigned to be Robert Mugabe’s assistant and bodyguard, and accompanied him to the Lancaster House Agreement, which resulted in Zimbabwe’s recognised independence in 1980.
Mnangagwa took over power from Mugabe in 2017 after a military coup.
In the 2018 harmonised elections he defeated the main opposition leader, Advocate Nelson Chamisa who is currently the leader of MDC Alliance.
Many politicians including, George Charamba, Nick Mangwana, Monica Mutsvangwa among others have took to social media to celebrate Mnangagwa’s birthday