FORMER President Robert Mugabe yesterday swallowed his pride and heartily congratulated his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa, having de-campaigned him in the run-up to the July 30 polls.

In a message read out by Mnangagwa at his inauguration ceremony at the National Sports Stadium, Mugabe said ill-health had stopped him from attending the event.

The special message was delivered to Mnangagwa by Mugabe’s eldest daughter Bona and her husband, Simba Chikore.

“Your Excellency, thank you for your invitation to me and my wife to attend the inauguration ceremony. My wife is not well in Singapore and also I am not well so I am sending my daughter and her husband to represent us. Hearty congratulations,” part of Mugabe’s letter read.

Neatly dressed for the occasion and still looking popular within the Zanu PF hierarchy, Bona and husband were accommodated in the VVIP tent where Mnangagwa, his deputies and fellow leaders from the region were seated.

As they appeared on the big screen in the stadium, the couple received a thunderous welcome from the packed stadium.

Mugabe and Mnangagwa were scheduled to meet soon after his removal from power last November, but the highly-publicised meeting failed to take off, as both camps traded insults and showed contempt for each other.

Mugabe also snubbed Mnangagwa’s first inauguration last November following his military-aided ouster.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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