PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe initially wanted Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to conceal medical findings in his poisoning saga, fearing the issue could rock the boat in the ruling Zanu PF party, but the information somehow spilled into the public domain according to the media.

This came amid fresh details that Mnangagwa fell sick shortly after ingesting a lethal radioactive substance known as thallium, mainly used by Russia’s feared spy agency to eliminate anti-government activists Mugabe, according to insiders, did not want the embarrassment of having issues around the poisoning addressed in public, hence, the “gentlemen’s understanding” with Mnangagwa that a “certain narrative” be put out to the public.

 “The President did not want the opposition feasting on top Zanu PF officials attempting to kill each other for power, so (he) requested Mnangagwa to conceal the details. But then, the President probably did not put his G40 colleagues in on the deal,” an insider said.

The Zanu PF leader, in his address to a youth interface rally in Gweru on September 1, did not deny Mnangagwa had been poisoned, but said it was not food poisoning, lashing out at those insinuating that ice-cream from his Gushungo Dairies could have been used.

“It was not food poisoning, no! The doctor said they tested his blood, but failed to find any traces of food poisoning. They tested for traces of poisoning caused by stale food because stale foods have different kinds of poison and there was none of that,” Mugabe told party supporters.

NewsDay heard that Mnangagwa, however, backtracked on his agreement with the President after Mugabe seemed to attack him in public and allowing leading figures in the Zanu PF G40 faction of the party to abuse him.

“He (Mnangagwa) could not take it anymore and notified Mugabe that he would tell the truth, hence, the responses. After the fall-out with (Vice-President Phelekezela) Mphoko, Mnangagwa also threatened to make public his medical toxicology report on the assassination bid,”

While he was Acting President, Mphoko rubbished Mnangagwa’s claims that he had been poisoned, as the Zanu PF succession war reached a climax last week.

Matters came to a head last week when Mugabe returned from a visit to South Africa with an altercation between his two deputies, as they waited for his arrival at Harare International Airport.

Mugabe was briefed and seemed to dismiss Mnangagwa’s bid to explain on the runway.

 Before the day was out, Mnangagwa had issued a stinging statement against Mphoko, literally telling his counterpart “you are not my doctor”.

Government sources this week said that while preliminary indications pointed to palladium, further investigations had shown Mnangagwa had, instead, ingested thallium.

“The swelling, near shut-down of all organs and diarrhoea are symptoms more synonymous with thallium than palladium. Mnangagwa had to be sedated to relieve pressure on vital organs,” NewsDay heard.